The Sustainable Seafood Movement
Sustainable seafood- seafood that is either farmed or caught using methods that ensure the long-term survival of harvested species and wellness of the ocean and livelihoods of the fisheries dependent communities.
The sustainable seafood movement began to be promoted from the 1990s till now. Its operation points on overfishing, use of destructive fishing methods that pose a danger to the environment and entire ecosystem. Through various initiative programs, the movement has raised concern and increased awareness of the methods used to obtain our seafood.
Over the current years, marine environment has been under enormous pressure. The problem being from anthropogenic causes like overfishing by use of ways that cause environmental destruction. Studies show that marine ecosystem can recover if responsible management, regulation, and policies are put in place.
Irresponsible fishing has been the fundamental problem causing unsustainability of our ecosystem.
This has resulted in depletion of some marine stocks Basson, J. (2011.) According to Bassan and Janine, 85 % of the total fisheries in the world are fished at or above their maximum sustainable limit. Considering the increasing world population and the pressure it has on the demand for seafood’s, a more and efficient sustainable way of fishing is required for the human to continue utilizing its natural availability.
The sustainable seafood movement is a program that was started through the insight that world’s marine ecosystems were being destroyed and overexploited. Its operations began in the 1990s and were promoted by Ecolabel, social marketing and awareness campaigns Roheim, C. A. (2009).
It was made effective through partnerships with environmental NGOs and made the industry allow consumers make informed choices that could contribute to sustainability and protection of marine biodiversity.
The primary purpose of the awareness campaigns is to inform the public and inspire the buy seafood products that have a high vitality. They effectively by boycotting certain marine species and their products. Seafood guides point out the acceptable seafood’s to purchase and consume with no adverse effects to the environment. These guides are commonly made using three categories, some using the likeness of traffic light colors: red, yellow and green Roheim, C. A. (2009).
These groups are made based on the fish availability, pressure, bycatch, gear impact, and management. Red color signifies items to avoid, the yellow color is for good alternative, and green color means the best choice. Some of the organizations such as Monterey Bay Aquarium have made their sea guides that are given to the public.
In September 2016, a collaboration of Google, skytruth and Oceana came up with a website called Global Fishing Watch, developed to help people to monitor fishing activities worldwide (Cooke et al, 2011).
There are various fishing methods used. Each method impacts environment different, which varies in intensity. Trawls, long line fishing, gillnetting and purse seining are some of the fishing methods which have high chances of bycatch and result to sea floor damage.
Due to high public concern about overfishing, seafood restaurants have started to offer sustainable seafood alternatives with some restaurant like Miya’s restaurant and sustainable rushi restaurant throughout England, Canada, and United States specializing in sustainable seafood.
Because of eco-labeling, traceability schemes, seafood guides, awareness initiatives and sourcing policies, there are more restaurants and chefs who are now involved in seafood movement than before.
Sea Choices Alliance is an organization that is helping to educate chefs and restaurants on sustainable options they can offer to their customers. It is through this initiative that will inform consumers on making choices on their menus by finding out where the fish come from, how it was caught.
Choosing sustainable seafood is the useful tool that one can make every time you purchase seafood; it helps to support solutions for healthier oceans and marine life.
Whether you are the chef, who prepares and offers sustainable food in the menu, shopper who shops for the family or a supplier who supplies fish products, your choice counts.