I support ocean-friendly seafood. Do you?
Do you know that the world-wide demand for fish is increasing so rapidly, that certain species in our oceans are being over-fished almost to extinction?
Do you know that 80% of the fish we eat in the United States is imported “to meet demand”?
According to the Montery Bay Aquarium
Scientists estimate we’ve removed as much as 90% of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and cod from the world’s oceans. In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission warned that the world’s oceans are in a state of “silent collapse,” threatening our current seafood supply and the health of our oceans.
The good news is it’s not too late
- if all the fisheries improve their practice,
- stop the overfishing,
- the habitat damage,
- and bycatch (accidentally catching unwanted species).
I find it disturbing to see how much food is thrown away at restaurants. If we made smaller portions of fish on our plates the new norm, we wouldn’t see the world’s dwindling supplies of seafood ending up in our garbage.
I have a Seafood Watch card “for the West Coast” from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which lists fish in three categories i.e
- Green (best choices – abundant, well-managed, and caught in environmentally friendly ways),
- Orange (good alternatives),
- Red (AVOID)
At the supermarket on Monday I bought a package of frozen fish identified as
“wild-caught Hake from Namibia”
and had the “Green sustainable source” logo on the package.
It wasn’t on the Seafood Watch card. I looked it up:
|SEAFOOD||RATING||MARKET NAMES||WHERE CAUGHT||HOW CAUGHT|
|Chilean Seabass||Antarctic Toothfish, Black Hake, Icefish, Patagonian Toothfish||Southern Ocean||Wild-caught|
|Offshore, Red, and Silver Hake||Ling Hake, Squirrel Hake, Whiting||U.S. Atlantic||Wild-caught|
|White Hake||U.S. Atlantic||Wild-caught|
What did I buy? How do I know whether the Hake in my freezer is Red or Silver Hake which is okay; or whether it’s Black Hake also known as Chilean Seabass, or White Hake both of which are to be avoided?
A portion of the Chilean seabass fishery is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). These certified fisheries are not evaluated in the Seafood Watch report and are not covered under the general “Avoid” recommendation.
Consumer Note: Consumers wishing to purchase MSC-certified Chilean seabass must be very careful. All restaurants and grocery stores that sell MSC products are required to have the MSC “Chain of Custody” certification. Legitimate purveyors should be able to produce this document when consumers ask. If the certificate is not available, assume the fish is not certified and don’t make the purchase.
Health Alert – Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for Chilean seabass due to high levels of mercury.
Life was so much simpler when you could go down to the docks to buy fish that just came off the fishing boats. I can’t buy fish from the fishermen anywhere near here, because the small fishing boats have been replaced by huge factory ships, and it’s illegal for sports fishermen to sell their catch.
When we were in South Africa we enjoyed the simple pleasure of purchasing fish from the fishermen at the small fishing village of Kalk Bay, south of Cape Town.
I cannot imagine fresh fish being sold on the ground – even if the floor is clean – in North America, but over here it was quite acceptable.
One of my favorite meals is fresh fish and chips.
In Kalk Bay if you feel peckish after buying your fish, walk across the car park to Kalky’s, a little fish and chip shack at the dock.
I end off with a slide show with additional photos …