Solutions for Sustainable Seafood
What do sea lions and humans have in common? They both love fish! The difference is that sea lions and other marine animals have to eat fish to survive. Humans and marine life can coexist successfully but we have to be mindful of how many resources we are taking from the ocean. In a recent study scientists have found 31% of fish stocks to be overfished and another 58% of fish stocks fished to the maximum sustainable point. If we continue on this path fish species will not be able to reproduce at a fast enough rate to allow for their survival. This could endanger marine life in every ocean.
In addition, some fishing practices are less sustainable than others. Using large nets to indiscriminately catch thousands of fish can lead to higher amounts of bycatch. Bycatch means marine life that is not the targeted species is being caught in the nets. This includes marine mammals and sea turtles who often drown in the nets. With carefully managed fishing operations we can ensure there is plenty of fish for everyone.
How You Can Help
Despite overfishing, there is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way to enjoy fish without taking essential populations from marine animals. Use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide or free app to identify what sustainable options are available. Seafood Watch is a program from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that works to provide consumers with the most accurate information regarding sustainable seafood as possible. By choosing sustainable seafood when out to eat or at your local grocery stores, you can ensure fish is plentiful for years to come. You can download the seafood watch card here or you can download the Seafood Watch app. In addition, you can encourage local restaurants and eateries to use sustainable seafood by using the Seafood Watch card while eating out.
Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis. “New Maps Show the Utterly Massive Imprint of Fishing on the World’s Oceans.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/02/22/new-maps-show-the-utterly-massive-imprint-of-fishing-on-the-worlds-oceans/.
“Sustainable Seafood Guide.” Oceana, oceana.org/living-blue/sustainable-seafood-guide.
“Wild Seafood.” Effects of Fishing for Wild Seafood from the Seafood Watch Program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, www.seafoodwatch.org/ocean-issues/wild-seafood.