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WATCH - World Oceans Day: Fish collagen extracted at unsustainable levels

Ocean life. Picture: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Ocean life. Picture: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Published Jun 8, 2022


The global marine collagen market is expected to be valued at around $950 million (about R154 billion) by 2026, an increase of $270m from 2020.

The growth, attributed to the increasing popularity of collagen over recent years, includes collagen derived from fish. It has become vital that consumers ensure the fish collagen they use is sustainably sourced, so that it has as little impact on our ailing oceans as possible.

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Speaking in light of the UN's World Oceans Day on June 8, 2022, Toni Carroll, the founder of South African nutri-cosmetic brand My Beauty Luv, explained that fish collagen was either sourced from ocean-farmed fish, wild-caught marine fish or aquaculture fresh-water fish that were farmed.

“The latter is far better for the environment, especially if the fish are farmed using advanced organic, regenerative, and sustainable practices as this ensures environmental integrity,” said Carrol.

“Fish collagen is valued quite highly by the beauty industry because it has the lowest molecular weight out of all type 1 collagen and has extremely high bio-availability. “This means that absorption and assimilation into the body are far easier than most other collagens.”

Carroll said that as we aged, the type 1 collagen in our skin – the same kind that was in fish collagen – weakened, leading to visible signs of ageing including sagging and wrinkly skin. Preclinical studies showed that ingesting fish collagen repaired skin collagen and elastin protein fibres while producing a significant thickening of the outer skin surface.

Studies on the use of collagen had reported decreased wrinkles and improved skin hydration and firmness following fish collagen supplementation. Fish collagen also protected against oxidative skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) light such as sunlight.

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This year’s World Oceans Day theme is Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean. It is vital that the beauty industry, as well as conscious consumers, play their part.

“The impact of overfishing is already starting to have a toll on South African shores,” says Carroll. “For example, if you live on the west coast of Cape Town, you may have seen first-hand the early effects of overfishing of marine fish along the Atlantic seaboard in the prevalence of ill baby seals along the coastline.”

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She said veterinary findings stated that starvation was the most probable cause.

“Seals and other marine predators are forced to expand their hunting territories or starve. By avoiding marine collagen and opting for brands that support ethical, freshwater fish farming, you’re helping to protect our seals and other vital marine predators like dolphins, sharks and bird life.”

Seals and other marine predators are forced to expand their hunting territories or starve, according to an expert. Picture: Elianne Dipp/Pexels

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“Another way that the beauty sector is impacting the oceans is by way of single-use plastic or packaging that is not recyclable,” added Carroll. “Studies have shown that the beauty industry generates up to 120 billion units of plastic packaging per year, which can end up in our oceans.”

To mitigate that, she said, brands should consider using recyclable and sustainable packaging like glass, which could be recycled or reused.

Picture: adege/Pixabay

“With more than half of the world’s marine species set to be on the brink of extinction by 2100, both the beauty industry and its consumers need to be more conscious of the choices we make today or else we face consequences like these tomorrow. concludes.

Like Meat-free Mondays, maybe we should start No-Makeup Mondays or All-natural Tuesdays?

You might think one day won’t make a difference, but small acts are multiplied when done by millions of people.