Sustainability is one of the more commonly raised topics in discussions about fisheries. The big question in the minds of many consumers is this: what exactly is sustainability and how does it relate to seafood? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), seafood sustainability can be defined as ensuring that the population of a species of fish is sufficient to meet the needs of today's consumers. It should be able to meet those present needs without affecting the ability of that species to reproduce and meet the needs of future generations.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that the vast majority of the world's fisheries are stressed by overfishing. This means that they are over exploited or they are being fished to the maximum allowed level. It can also mean that they have been depleted and are in the process of recovering.
How to Know if the Seafood on Your Menu Came From Sustainable Sources
If it is Harvested in the US
The US government manages fisheries to determine when and where fishermen can catch fish. Fish scientists assess stocks around the country to estimate how many fish are in the water. Imported seafood may also be sustainable, but can come from a wide range of sources. Those sources may not be held to the same high standards as seafood from the US.
By Purchasing From a Reputable Restaurant
Many chefs have purchasing policies for seafood that prioritize sustainability. Indigenous is committed to only serving sustainable fish and Chef Phelps is passionate about this endeavor.
Ask Questions About Seafood Sustainability
Learn where the seafood you are buying is from and how to identify quality sustainable seafood.
Learn How it is Caught
The methods of catching seafood differ in their level of sustainability. For example, the hook and line method has little impact to the sea floor and allows fishermen to return unwanted species. In most cases, the unwanted species will be returned quickly enough for them to survive.