The Rise of Sustainable Seafood

You may recall we’ve discussed the issue of sustainable seafood before. Seafood is good for you. It’s healthy and many experts and doctors are urging us to consume more. But that presents a problem. Already many popular fish species have become nearly extinct because of overfishing. Also, many underwater habitats have been destroyed by large scale fishing operations that gather up or scrape away lots of animals needed for a healthy ecosystem. Aquafarming has tried to answer that call, but this has its own problems such as environmental damage and artificial, antibody-laden feed.

And that’s not all. There’s also increasing concern over mercury contamination of many popular species like tuna and swordfish. We have the long burning of coal to thank for that.

What’s a responsible bachelor to do?

The answer is sustainable seafood. That means either fishing methods that don’t destroy habitats or take in unwanted species. It also means consuming fish that reproduce quickly in the wild.

Now, we’re seeing an increasing demand for sustainable seafood among the general public, not just the environmentally conscious. A recent article on NPR’s food blog, The Salt, reports that big chain stores, where so many Americans shop, are catching on to this trend and moving to change the stocks in their seafood selections.

“Increasingly, those of us who shop the big-box retailers including Costco, Target and Walmart are finding a blue label on seafood packages. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label signifies that the seafood comes from a fishery that’s met a rigorous set of standards aimed at promoting responsible, sustainable catches.”

And supporters of this movement say consumer demand is making the difference. That means we are becoming more informed about our food – and more conscious of how we spend our food dollars. Right now, these changes are not translating to higher food costs. But that could change.

“And how might these commitments influence our pocketbooks? Well, lots of factors influence the fluctuating prices of seafood. It’s all about supply and demand. Currently, about 14 percent of global fisheries have gone through an MSC certification. It’s possible that as retailers demand more sustainable fish, pricescould rise if supplies are limited.”

Overall, this is good news. It means this vital food resource can endure long into the future. So, go ahead and eat more fish and seafood. Just look for that label that tells you it’s something we all can live with.