March 28, 2007
Hello fellow greens,
This is my first post and I'm excited to share some information I have recently read about " Sustainable Seafood". I first came across this subject in a World Wildlife Fund newsletter and then I saw a special article about it in the latest issue of National Geographic. The more I read on, the more I realized what a problem the seafood industry is in. The main problems are overfishing, ridiculous amounts of bycatch (29 million tons of fish, seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals each year) & the lack of government support.
The whole world is feeling the effects of overfishing. One fisherman Alfonso Consiglio of Italy, whose family owns a fleet of purse seiners, is also torn. "The price is cheap because more and more tuna are being caught" he said. " My only weapon is to catch more fish. It is a vicious circle. If I catch my quota of a thousand tuna, I can't live because the price is very cheap. I want to respect the quota, but I can't because I need to live. If boats of all countries respect the rules, tuna will not be finished. If only few countries respect the rules, and others don't respect the rules, the fisherman who respects rules is finished."
There is a huge lack of government support, they need to cut back the worlds 4 million fishing vessels, which is double the amount needed to fish sustainably and lower the budget of 25 billion dollars in government subsides set aside annually for the fishing industries. Not only do we need to change the rules but we need to open peoples minds to the idea that we must treat the oceans inhabitants as we would the beautiful animals on land. It is easy to ignore or just truly underestimate the wonders of the sea, simply because it's a world most of us don't interact with.
If you would like to make a change and push for more sustainable practices you can go to this website:
It is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an independent, non-profit organization set up to find a solution to the problem of overfishing. You can find out where to buy sustainable seafood, fisheries that support the program and even delicious recipes. They were also a winner of GreenAwards, a UK based organization supporting "creativity in sustainability".
Also I wanted to share the list of safe fish:
Halibut - Alaska/Canada
Striped Bass - Atlantic
Squid - Pacific "market"
Albacore - Pacific
Lobster - Australian rock lobster
Shellfish; mussels, clams, oysters - farmed (various sources), cockles (Burry Inlet, U.K.)
Caviar - farmed U.S.
Salmon - wild Alaskan
Some fish to avoid are Atlantic swordfish, wild caught Atlantic salmon and sharks. Speaking of sharks, there is an estimated 40 million sharks finned alive for shark-fin soup. So if you would like to support eco-friendly sustainable seafood please look for the blue & white MSC logo on your packages of fish. It's worth mentioning at your local grocery store, let them know, if we don't speak for the fish nobody will.