Sustainable Fish Farming | Ethically-sourced Seafood
– Guest Contributor | Justin Baugh, Director of Sustainability –
SEAFOOD SUSTAINABILITY IN FISH FARMING: WHAT IS THE RIGHT CHOICE?
What does “sustainability” mean? What is sustainable fish farming? There’s a great deal of confusing messaging surrounding seafood and seafood aquaculture, but the basic idea of sustainability is that the fish and seafood that we harvest from the ocean or that we “farm” in aquatic environments is done in a way that ensures the longevity of the resource while ensuring the health of the oceans and ecosystems remains intact. Seems easy enough, doesn’t it? Then how do you, the consumer, make the right choice in a sea of confusing choices? Here are some suggestions.
THE POWER OF QUESTIONS
Ask retailers and restaurants if their fish farms are sustainable. As a consumer, you have more influence than you realize, simply by expressing interest. You can use your purchasing power to drive change in the water. The more consumers express their desire for responsibly-sourced seafood, the more the industry will understand the need to adopt and adapt. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like “Is this seafood sourced sustainably?” or “Where was this fish farmed?”.
You can also look for sustainability labels like the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices). All certification labels are not the same, but they all have the same goal: to ensure the responsibility of seafood resources.
TRUST, BUT VERIFY
While seafood sustainability issues are often complex and might feel overwhelming, as a consumer, the solutions can be much easier to navigate, but equally powerful. Know who you buy from. Check your favorite retailers’ websites. Do they have a sustainability policy that includes minimum standards and measurable goals? You support sustainable seafood with your food dollars. Therefore, asking questions and getting answers ensures you are purchasing from and support trustworthy retailers and companies that, over time, will reflect an increase in sustainable fish farming practices.
SMALL CHOICES = BIG INFLUENCE
Ask questions and get to know the places you buy seafood. It may seem simple, but these small efforts multiply to create a real impact that will resonate throughout fishing communities worldwide.