80% of global seafood consumers agree that seafood needs to be protected for future generations.
93% of wild fisheries are fully fished or overfished. Stocks of large fish, such as tuna and swordfish, have declined by 90% since 1950. And many aquaculture (seafood farming) operations also negatively impact coasts and oceans. But consumer awareness, responsible purchasing behaviors, and demand for sustainably-sourced seafood is on the rise. By reducing seafood consumption and choosing more sustainable seafood options we can directly contribute to healthier oceans. Join the global movement by ensuring your own seafood choices are sustainable.
It’s simple. Start here.
1. Limit your seafood consumption, or give it up altogether. This may sound drastic to some, but the reality is that it can be pretty difficult to find and identify sustainable seafood options, and most seafood options are currently not sustainable. The only surefire way to limit your ocean impact through seafood choices is to choose to avoid seafood altogether. Many ocean experts therefore recommend that those of us who can afford to choose what to eat should choose to give the ocean a break by avoiding seafood altogether.
2. Use sustainable seafood guides such as those from the Monterey Bay Aquarium or Safina Center to get recommendations about sustainable seafood choices, and try to stick to the “Best” (green) choices. These valuable resources can be carried with you wherever you go.
3. Ask questions. Simply asking questions about the origins and sustainability of your seafood sends an important message to seafood sellers that their customers care about this issue. Don’t be afraid to ask your local grocer, “Do you sell sustainable seafood?” and inquire about their selection criteria. Or, “Where is this salmon from? How was it caught or raised? Does it have any sustainability certifications?” Even if they do not have an immediate answer, the simple act of asking shows them that their customers care, and will continue to help shape the supply and demand of seafood that meets the right standards.
4. Familiarize yourself with a few sustainable seafood choices that you like to eat and stick with those. To help with this, seek out sustainable suppliers in your area and rely on local and domestic sources as much as possible—check out these U.S. supermarket seafood rankings and programs like Dock to Dish. When in doubt about the source or sustainability of a seafood choice at the store or on a menu, it’s best to avoid it.
5. Purchase seafood from a Community-Supported Fishery (CSF). These are unique operations that aim to provide low-impact, direct-to-consumer seafood options that are good for the oceans and for the communities that live near them. They are one of the best ways to assure the origins and sustainability of your seafood and provide direct support to fishing communities that are actively working to support healthier oceans.
6. Choose this, not that. If one of your favorite seafoods turns out to be a bad choice for the environment, use this handy guide to find a sustainable substitute that you may learn to like even more.
Still have questions? Check out our guide: What is Sustainable Seafood and How do I Choose it? Your Top Questions Answered.
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