The choices you make on land have a ripple effect on our ocean, lakes and waterways. But the good news is: positive change can be as simple as looking at what’s on your lunch or dinner plate.
Over-harvesting of seafood is a significant problem that increases every year. In many areas, fish and other seafood species that were once plentiful are now sparse due to irresponsible fishing practices, food fads and our growing population.
You don’t need to cut fish and seafood out of your diet altogether, but you should learn more about the issue and how to make better purchasing choices. If everyone made the effort to only eat sustainable fish, we could give threatened species a better chance for recovery.
Many people are surprised to learn which fish are fast approaching the endangered species list. Bluefin tuna, for example, is a popular fish to eat worldwide. So popular, it’s being fished well beyond recommended levels. The Western Altantic Bluefin population has declined a shocking 83 percent since 1950!
It’s no secret many sharks suffer a terrible fate largely due to the popularity of their fins in recipes. Researchers report up to 73 million sharks die each year from finning – their fins are cut off and the sharks are thrown back into the ocean alive to die slowly.
Other fish to blacklist include Chilean seabass and orange roughy. Imported shrimp should be avoided too because for every one pound of shrimp, up to 15 pounds of other sealife are unintentionally caught and die.
So what are some of the best seafood selections you can make? The Super Green List from Seafood Watch includes the best options for your health as well as the health of the ocean. The best of the best in 2013 include:
- Atlantic mackerel (purse seine from Canada and the U.S.)
- Freshwater coho salmon (farmed in tank systems from the U.S.)
- Pacific sardines (wild-caught)
- Salmon, including canned (wild-caught from Alaska)
Every day you can make a difference in the health of our oceans. Start by making responsible choices when you eat at restaurants and do your grocery shopping. The future of our world’s waters depend on it!