As every year, Mundus maris participated in the Good Food events calendar in Brussels, again as the only voice to bring essential information to fish and seafood consumers about what constitutes legitimate products. That means products providing mandatory information on the species, the regional sourcing, the production method and whether it's fresh or frozen. Fish sellers at the Flagey market on 19 October were among those asking for info.

Despite the rain in the early morning, people at the market stands selling different wares as well as many customers were interested to learn more about what constitutes sustainably produced fish, where it could be sourced and what to look for when buying.

The weekend market on Place Flagey is popular and attracts a qute diverse public. Two fish sellers and several permanent retail shops in the vicinity offer mostly marine fish and seafood. One can see the care in dressing the display, yet they are mostly still unaware of labelling European legislation. This is also applicable also in Belgium, and requires the following information to be provided to clients: the name of the fish, the FAO (sub) area, where the fish has been caught (e.g. Celtic Sea), the gear with which it has been caught (e.g. trawl), whether it has been wild caught or produced by aquaculture, whether it's fresh or frozen, the name and contact of the producer.

As a matter of fact, last year's market enquiry revealed that much of this information, and sometimes more, is provided by whole-salers, which are regularly controlled. But the information is not passed on to consumers by retailers because they are checked for (usually good) hygiene standards, but not for accurate labelling.

As some do not even indicate the name of the fish on display the client can not be sure what s/he gets. Especially in restaurants, lack of labelling or even selling one species of fish (usually lower priced) for another, is more common than one may assume according to a 2015 study by a team from the Catholic University of Leuven revealed thanks to DNA analysis of dozens of samples in restaurants.

A concise leaflet (side one, side two - FR) summarised key information to take home and feel better informed at the next purchase. Many were also unaware of the large quantities of undersized juvenile fish entering the marketing chains in Europe, thus undermining the sustainability of the fisheries. The Mundus maris book marks with our mascots and fish rulers for the North Sea and the Baltic draw attention to this sorry state of affairs which should be urgently addressed and could recover lost productivity of resources.

Such info activities remain a necessity even though we note from one year to the next a growing awareness of paying more attention to sustainable production and consumption. It must ultimately remain the responsibility of producers, sellers and the consumer protection agencies to make sure consumers can rely on accurate information about what they buy.