Buying sustainable seafood.
If you enjoy eating marine life, it is possible to do so with a level of consciousness. There is now supportive information that can be easily accessed to help you to choose seafood that is more sustainable, to avoid supporting fisheries with destructive fishing practises and from consuming overfished seafood that is under great threat. My recommendations are;
- Ask Questions. Do not be afraid to ask your fish supplier or restaurant owner what fish it is (they are often sold under different names!), if it was wild or farmed, where they source their fish from and what fishing method was used to catch it.
- Avoid the larger longer lived species such as tuna, flake and rays which have been overfished and need a longer time for the life cycle to grow and produce more young. When they are continuously fished they do not have the time to regenerate.
- When referring to what was the fishing method used, line-caught is preferable. Avoid bottom trawling and farmed fish.
Australian Marine Conservation Society have released Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide, that you can access online. It gives you some clear information on fishing method used and population risks and is easy to use with a traffic light system; red=no, orange= think, green=better. Check the online guide out here
Or for constant access to the information, even when you are out food shopping or eating out, download the app for mobiles. Buy it here and check before you buy to make a more informed choice.
Greenpeace has put out a "red list" of seafood that are "out of stock". I have included it here as I believe it to be extremely easy to follow and crazy important!
Due to the crisis of plummeting fish populations, fish farms, "aquacultures", have become the biggest form of factory farms in the world. According to the UN they are growing 3x faster than land based agriculture and account for 45% of the fish consumed today. However just like on land, there are major issues with these intensive farming practises.
Most fish farms take the form of large tanks on land or vast areas in the open sea or lagoons enclosed with nets in which fish are kept. The high density living for these beings can mean 50,000 salmon being crammed together, with the space equivalent of one to a bath tub, or trout being forced to share the space of a bathtub with 27 others! These fish are born with the instinct to navigate oceans and rivers but instead are contained in these confined spaces with so many others that they go insane. They are all defecating and so the water becomes filthy. So filthy that antibiotics and pesticides get added to the fish feed to try to fend off some of the rampent diseases and parasites.
It is not so successful though. Mortatlity rates are very high in fish farms and 40% of the marine life are blind.
The other major problem is what we feed these fish- unnatural diets of soy, grains, fishmeal, chickens and other fish. Here the issue of sustainability arises again. High percentages of the small fish in our oceans are being caught and made into pellets to be consumed by fish in aquacultures. It takes 5 pounds of fish to produce 1 pound of farmed fish.... not great.
To sum it up the fish from fish farms are filthy, polluted, medicated, diseased and suffer greatly and its terrible for the environment and adding to the problem of overfishing wild fish anyway!