While Americans love seafood, few know its sources. Unlike with produce and meat companies, there is often not a lot in the way of record-keeping that would allow consumers to find out where their seafood comes from. This information is crucial if you want to know the ecological implications of your consumption.
By making the right dining choices, you can help to support solutions for healthier oceans. Paying attention to the sources of fish sends a strong message to both government leaders and to leaders of the fishing industry that you support responsible stewardship of the planet’s oceans.
About Sustainable Seafood
This can be defined as fish that has been harvested in a way that allows populations to be maintained or increased over time. Seafood is only sustainable if it can be harvested without endangering the health or function of the oceanic ecosystem. If you want to buy only sustainable fish, you will have to find out where it is from.
Ideally, your fish should be from sustainable capture fisheries. These fisheries are less vulnerable to fishing pressure and thus are less likely to be overfished. They use fishing techniques that minimize the potential for catching unwanted species. These techniques also maintain natural relationships between species in the ecosystem.
How to Tell if What You Buy is from a Sustainable Source
If you are eating out, ask the restaurant if their fish supply is from a sustainable source. Many chefs have purchasing policies to ensure that the product they buy comes from sustainable fisheries. Those purchasing policies may also cover the type of processing the fish undergoes before it gets to your plate. You should also ask how it was caught, whether by bottom trawling, driftnets or long lines. All of these methods are associated with catching large amounts of unwanted species. Opt for fish caught with more sustainable methods like handlines, pots or jigs.
Your menu choices as well as where you choose to eat can help with the replenishment of overfished waters. The key is to find out the source of the seafood that winds up on your plate.
For a menu full of fresh, sustainable seafood choices, come visit us at Indigenous!