MSCs lessons on Ocean Sustainability a great catch for schools

 The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), have taken part in a successful tour of certified primary schools. They’ve been using their Fish and Kids programme of educational resources for schools to deliver engaging assemblies, fun activities and lessons to pupils about sustainable seafood and protecting our oceans.

The aim of the MSC’s Fish and Kids On Tour is to raise awareness about sustainable fishing and promoting the sustainable fish being served in the schools.

It is celebrating and rewarding the MSC certified schools that are serving certified sustainable seafood by making the link between the dining hall and the classroom and educating the next generation about the importance of sustainable fishing and protecting the world’s oceans.

Stefanie Siebels, Education Officer at the MSC explained, “The MSC’s mission is to make sure we have fish for future generations. As part of that work, we’re teaching the next generation to be good custodians of the planet they will inherit. By teaching them about sustainable fishing and how to protect the oceans, even when they are eating their lunch or helping their parents to choose fish fingers, we can make sure that the oceans are in good hands for the future.”

The MSC’s Fish & Kids programme has been visiting schools over the last two months to deliver assemblies, lessons and fun activities with Murdoch, the Fish and Kids mascot while a nationwide mail-out of the MSC teacher’s resource pack, certificates and pledge cards has engaged all schools in the programme.

Following the assembly and classroom lessons the children’s knowledge was then put to the test with little quizzes on sustainable fishing and some colouring activities. The results of these engaging events will be featured on the Fish and Kids website soon.

Over 3,000 MSC certified primary schools across the UK will have received mail from the Marine Stewardship Council. The MSC has sent out engagement packs for teachers asking them to celebrate their school’s achievement (being certified for serving MSC certified sustainable fish in their school lunches) by conducting a lesson on sustainable fishing and marine conservation.

The resource packs are filled with engaging and informative posters, teachers’ notes for KS1 and KS2 classes and exciting activity sheets from the MSC Fish and Kids programme.

The lessons can be structured around food chains, fishing, the impacts of fishing and ecolabels.

Pupils are encouraged to commit to eating MSC certified seafood in school and at home and teach their families about sustainable fishing and the MSC by collecting pledges on MSC pledge cards. The school that returns the most pledges to the MSC will win a special assembly and lesson from the MSC’s Fish and Kids team.

The MSC is asking teachers to use these packs and get their pupils engaged by signing the pledge to help protect the oceans, and eating sustainably sourced fish. By sending a pledge card back to the MSC the schools can win some great prices.

The tour included a total of 13 primary schools covering London, the south, southeast, southwest of England and Wales.

The MSC have delivered 15 school assemblies and lessons for a range of years covering KS1 and KS2 requirements.

Approximately 2,500 primary school children have engaged in the educational tour, learning about sustainable fish, the work of the MSC and how they can help protect the ocean’s fish stock for future generations.

The MSC, certified contract caterers and LEAs

The MSC’s planned school visits included special classes about sustainable fishing in the morning and they were followed by a special appearance of Murdock during their sustainable fish lunch.

Caterers such as Caterlink and ISS Education helped make the lunch special by giving out fishy tasters and encouraging children to try delicious new fish dishes.

Caterlink were very pleased with the joint Camden Council and MSC event that took place at Primrose Hill Primary School.

Kevin Hobart – Operations Manager at Caterlink, said: “We believe that educating children about making the right food choices is incredibly important, particularly as eating the right meals can not only make a big difference to their performance in the classroom but also the sustainability of our food chain. Fish can be a great source of nutrition and we want to get children excited about the food they’re eating and where it comes from.

“Our MSC event has been a great opportunity to get the kids trying new things and learning about different ways of fishing. They particularly enjoyed the chance to try all the different fish we had prepared.”  

MSC’s visit to Preston and Furzeham Primary Schools, Devon

Primary schools in Devon have a very close link to the sea and the fishing industry so the MSC visits tied in well with the schools’ own projects and lessons on fishing and marine conservation.

The Fish & Kids tour included Preston Primary School where they had a different approach to teaching seafood sustainability. Twelve children (from years 2 to 5), were selected to be “The Guardians”, and learnt about ocean sustainability, being responsible citizens and understanding the wider impacts of our consumer choices.

The visit from the MSC was the first of 5 designated afternoon sessions where the Fish and Kids team ran a workshop with “The Guardians”, teaching them about sustainable fishing practices and how everyone can play a part in protecting our oceans. The pupils then designed posters for the school, informing other children about how we can choose sustainable and responsibly-caught seafood.

Stefanie Siebels from the MSC commented; “It was such a pleasure to run the MSC workshop and assembly with the children at Preston Primary School as all the children were so well informed about why fishing sustainably is important. We were really impressed with how much the children already knew about the marine environment and fishing. All the pupils have proven to be responsible and caring citizens and are sure to be future guardians of our oceans! We are very excited to have been part of Preston Primary School’s innovative approach to teaching their pupils about ocean sustainability and how to be responsible citizens.”

Scott Ord, head teacher Preston Primary, saw the MSC event as being an important part of their education. “At Preston Primary School, our vision is to evolve into an outstanding coastal school, known for an innovative curriculum that delivers excellent outcomes for children. Children in Devon must learn about life in Devon.
Working with the Marine Stewardship Council is a key element in that local innovative curriculum. It also links with our school value of responsibility.”

Paul Adams, Head Teacher at Furzeham Primary School was also very impressed with how engaged the pupils were by the Fish and Kids event: “The MSC assembly helped the children understand how we can preserve our ocean for future generations and why this is so important. They were all particularly interested in the dangers that ocean wildlife faces and what we can do to protect our oceans and support sustainable fishing. 

“The special lesson run by the Fish and Kids team with our class was a huge hit. The children learnt about the impacts of fishing and sustainable fishing practices. The lesson was very engaging and the children learnt a lot about sustainability. 

During the lunch time visits, the Fish and Kids’ mascot Murdock the cat was a huge hit with staff and pupils and the children loved the stickers and activity sheets that he gave out!

“Overall the Fish and Kids team provided a great experience for the children, one which they have learnt so much from and can go on to use this information to become ocean heroes!

Linking the dining room and classroom in Primary Schools

Mark Davies, Managing Director at ISS Education, reflected on the successful partnership with the MSC on this tour of Primary Schools.

“ISS was delighted to have the MSC join us in Torbay and Portsmouth during November, for the MSC Fish and Kids programme, where we teamed up to celebrate delicious, sustainably sourced fish in schools.

The MSC hosted special assemblies and visited classrooms to talk to children about why choosing sustainable seafood is vital for the future of fish, fishing communities and the environment. Pupils at Furzeham Primary School in Brixham were particularly excited about the visit; their school is very close to fishing ports with many of their families involved in fishing and the local fish markets. 

To complete the sea to plate story, ISS served MSC certified fishy bites at lunch time. The vast majority of the schools ISS serves hold the MSC Chain of Custody, meaning that the fish on the menus has been responsibly sourced. Activities like those in the Fish and Kids programme allow us to support schools with food education and to show our young diners and their families that our school lunches are healthy, great quality and traceable to source.“

Primary Schools in Berkshire

With schools in counties further from the coast the results of the MSC’s lessons in seafood sustainability have been a huge success.

 Jill Nixon, Head of Infants at Robert Piggott Schools said: "It was great to see our children learning about the sea, especially since our school is so far inland.

The kids loved learning about the MSC fishermen closest to us on the South Coast and the lesson really made them aware of how they can all help protect our oceans. The day with the MSC helped bring the dining room and learning closer together. 

“It is so important to educate the next generation about how we can look after our oceans and ensure there is fish in the sea for future generations. And it wasn’t just the kids who learnt a lot! Every time I go to the shops now, I will be looking out for the MSC ecolabel as well.”

For further information about MSC certification or certified products please contact Stefanie Siebels, MSC Education Officer at stefanie.siebels@msc.org.com or 0207 246 8917 or visit www.msc.org

About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our ecolabel and certification program recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that:

·        It comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.

·         It’s fully traceable to a sustainable source.

More than 270 fisheries in over 30 countries are certified to the MSC’s Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of almost nine million metric tonnes, representing close to 10% of annual global yields. More than 19,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC ecolabel. For more information visit www.msc.org

     
   
   
 
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