Making responsible food choices is one of the most popular ways to contribute to a healthier environment and lower carbon footprint. Sustainable seafood is becoming an increasingly popular choice for ethical food as many people seek to make more responsible decisions for seafood choices. According to a study, over 80% of global seafood eaters believe that it is pivotal to protect the sea and seafood for future generations. However, it’s important to face the fact that the path to making sustainable seafood choices isn’t the easiest one to understand.
Problems With The Fishing Industry
There are many issues in the fishing industry. Many fish species are extracted at a faster rate than they can replenish, which is perhaps the biggest problem that the fishing industry faces. However, don’t underestimate this critical problem as the fishing industry causes many other issues.
Overfishing And Habitat Destruction
According to current statistics, around 93% of fish populations are believed to be overfished. Many fishing methods currently being used, including trawling, lead to many serious problems, such as damaged ocean habitats.
Bycatch is basically non-targeted fishing, which leaves behind a vast amount of collateral damage in non-commercial fish species such as sharks, seabirds, turtles, seals, dolphins, etc. By attempting to catch the commercial, edible fish species, fishers often catch other species. This is mainly due to their recklessness that ends up in the destruction of these species.
Another major concern facing the seafood industry is fish fraud. Seafood found in many supermarkets and restaurants in the U.S. is usually mislabeled. For instance, an item may be labeled as snapper or sea bass but is something entirely different.
This might not be widespread knowledge, but the fishing industry in many countries worldwide experiences forced labor and slavery.
These impacts are very daunting to consider, especially if you’re trying to make changes to your life by looking for sustainable options and reducing your carbon footprint. Therefore, it is important to make educated and informed choices when it comes to seafood.
What Is Sustainable Seafood?
As the name suggests, sustainable fishing dodges all the problems of the traditional fishing industry, such as overfishing and habitat destruction, by being a more responsible and mindful option. Sustainable seafood is caught or farmed with minimal social and environmental impacts using the best fishing methods. If done correctly, sustainable seafood sourcing can help minimize the impact on ocean habitats, protect many fish species, and reduce the economic impact on the communities from which it is sourced.
Why Opt For Sustainable Seafood Or Sustainable Fishing Methods?
Now that you know how problematic the fishing and seafood industry is, you don’t need any more reasons to opt for sustainable fishing or sustainable seafood. However, there are some other benefits of sustainable seafood that can lead you towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainable seafood is easily and widely available in abundance. In fact, it is quite the economical choice most of the time. The most sustainable and highly reasonable seafood item you can easily find is canned fish.
Better Quality Fish
When you walk into your local fish store searching for the freshest fish, there’s a high chance that you will be offered a sustainable option. This is a way better option than insisting on getting fish such as salmon, which might not even be in season.
What’s The Most Sustainable Fishing Method?
The most sustainable fishing method is the pole and line fishing method. Not only is this a highly selective catching method, but it is also very environmentally friendly. In fact, this technique helps avoid bycatch and causes minimal to no damage to ocean creatures and their habitats.
How To Know If Your Seafood Is Sustainable
If you’ve eaten traditional seafood all your life, it can be a little difficult to make wiser choices by switching towards sustainable fishing, especially because many people don’t know where to start. So, here are a few factors that can help you identify whether your seafood is sustainable or not.
Identify The Source
The first step to determining where your seafood is sustainable or not is to – identify the source. You specifically need to find out how and where the seafood was caught. It’s become so much easier to do this in recent times as a growing number of markets, seafood companies, and restaurants have made sustainability a prominent part of their operations.
It may seem like an inconvenience, especially the first few times you do it, but you must ask questions to be sure about where your seafood comes from. You can ask anyone at a restaurant or the supermarket to guide you about how their seafood is sourced. If the waiter, manager, grocery, or company is unaware or unsure about how their seafood is sourced, it’s better to avoid buying or eating seafood from that place.
Search For Online Guides To Sustainable Seafood
Once you know where your seafood comes from, you should refer to various online guides and websites dedicated to studying and promoting sustainable fisheries to help consumers make wiser choices. These guides can help you determine whether or not your seafood is sustainable.
Seafood To Avoid Entirely
Seafood is a major part of many people’s diet. So, you don’t need to completely cut off seafood from your life; you need to make more mindful choices. There are many seafood options that you can safely consume without worrying about their social, ethical, and economic impact. However, there are certain seafood options that you must avoid entirely.
These options include eel, Bluefin tuna, imported shrimp, Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, and Atlantic halibut. These seafood options aren’t the best choices since they are profoundly overfished, environmentally damaging to capture or raise and slow to grow and reproduce. Therefore, you must make your seafood choices wisely.