DO WE NEED A SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD MOVEMENT?
Once upon a time, we didn’t have to worry about our fishing practices. There was plenty of fish in the oceans available to feed a multitude of people.
However, the laws of supply and demand apply to the oceans just as they do everywhere else. As our population continues to increase, so does the demand for fresh fish. Therefore, it’s to start creating sustainable seafood policies and practices.
THE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD MOVEMENT
Species of fish that were once plentiful are now nowhere to be found. Overharvesting threatens to wipe out entire ecosystems and habitats. In fact, it’s one of the greatest threats to our oceans and environment.
As a species becomes overharvested, its numbers become dangerously low. Then, it can take many years before the species becomes bountiful again. Overall, as more species of fish are overfished or face extinction, the risk of a fresh fish crisis becomes more real. The Sustainable Seafood Movement is an initiative to ensure our oceans are still bountiful for future generations.
IMPORTANCE OF THE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD MOVEMENT TO RESTAURATEURS
As our population continues to grow, the concern regarding the ability of our oceans to provide an ample supply of fresh food for our ever-increasing population continues to grow. As a result, more people are making food choices that reflect their concern about the future of our oceans.
Choosing seafood that repopulates at a high rate, or is lower on the food chain, ensures that our fish supply will remain plentiful for generations to come. People are also educating themselves about harvesting and farming methods, and only buying fish caught through responsible practices that don’t damage ecosystems or habitats.
As consumers become more and more knowledgeable about sustainable seafood, chefs and restaurateurs need to have sustainable choices on the menu. Failure to respond to consumer demand for sustainable seafood could have a negative effect on their bottom line going forward.
BUYING SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
When you’re shopping for seafood at your local grocer or ordering it in a restaurant, it’s sometimes difficult to know if the fish you’re buying is sustainable. Following these guidelines will help you make informed purchasing decisions:
Do some research on the internet about sustainable fishing and harvesting methods. For example, you could learn about which types of fish are nearing extinction.
Greenpeace offers a seafood Red List as well as a Green List so consumers can keep up-to-date on current sustainable seafood choices.
Always Read Labels
Labels detail the origin of the fish along with the farming and harvesting methods.
Check for Certification
The Marine Stewardship Council and Friends of the Sea certify seafood as sustainable. If the product you’re buying isn’t certified, chances are it’s not sustainable.
Ask your grocer or chef about their policies. If they sell sustainable seafood or have a sustainable seafood policy. Most will be glad to provide you with the information. In fact, many grocery stores and restaurants post their sustainable seafood policies online.
Use Pocket Guides
There are many pocket guides available that provide information about sustainable dining and shopping.
- Download Sustainability Apps – There are several sustainability apps, available for both Androids and the iPhone. Overall, these apps provide information on ocean-friendly seafood, as well as restaurants and grocers that sell it.
- Make Sustainable Choices – If you can’t find a grocer or a restaurant with a friendly seafood policy in place, you can still make sustainable choices. Mackerel, tilapia, and sardines are good sustainable choices. These types of fish are lower on the food chain, have a shorter lifespan, and reproduce quickly.
In conclusion, making sustainable food choices helps keep our oceans populated. Otherwise, overharvesting and overfishing will continue to wipe out various fish populations at an alarming rate. Finally, if we all do our part, we can ensure generations to come are able to enjoy seafood, just like we do today.
Shifting to an agricultural model that relies on smaller farms also reduces the impact of toxic farm run-off on local lakes and streams. Fewer animals on a farm can also prevent our essential aquifers from becoming exhausted before they can naturally recharge through the water cycle.
Protecting our environment doesn’t require drastically altering our diets, but it does require a financial investment in better farming practices and strategies.
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