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[ 6 Rules for Sustainable Seafood ]

Since many of you will be including seafood in your upcoming holiday celebrations & New Year’s festivities, I thought now would be a great time to share this article from the Sierra Club’s The Green Life blog regarding the six rules to follow when navigating the waters of the sustainable seafood trade.

This week on the Green Life, we’re offering hints for finding sustainable meat.

 6 Secrets for Seafood Lovers

Most of the food we eat is farmed, but the ocean is still a huge source of nutrition for billions of people. Overfishing puts immense pressure on ecosystems, especially since the biggest fish tend to get caught first. Aquaculture isn’t always the answer either, as fish farms suffer from many of the same pollution problems as land-based farms.

So what is a piscivore to do? The Marine Stewardship Council certifies specific, place-based fisheries as sustainable, and maintains a list of certified products. In addition, the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch offers printable pocket guides to sustainable seafood. Sounds good, right? But in practice, many species of fish are sold under the same name (“snapper” could be just about anything), one fish species is sold under many names (toothfish or sea bass are the same), and in many cases, the individual species of fish matters less than where or how it is caught. The facts are hard to unearth when all you know about the fish you’re buying is that it comes in a “stick.”

To help you navigate the waters of the sustainable seafood trade, here are six rules to follow:

1.) Freshwater Farms

Fish farms in coastal ocean pens can spread disease to wild fish, and release tons of pollution into surrounding water, in the form of dung, antibiotics, and leftover food. This can cause harmful algal blooms in the local environment. But freshwater species can be farmed in inland ponds, where the pollution can be cleaned up and the farmed fish won’t come into contact with wild ones. Freshwater farmed fish include farmed rainbow trout, tilapia, catfish, and arctic char.

2.) All-American Seafood

Generally speaking, fisheries and fish farms in the U.S.A. are better regulated than those in South America or Asia. If there’s a choice, go for the in-country barramundi, lobster, shrimp, and catfish.

3.) Don’t Eat Predators

Does fillet of Lion sound good to you? Top predator fish live a long time and breed slowly, so they can’t take much fishing pressure before their populations collapse, causing perturbations all the way down the food web. And when they’re farmed, people need to catch tons of smaller fish just to feed them! Not to mention that these are the fish that accumulate mercury in their bodies. Yuck! So stay away from sharks, bluefin tuna, groupers, and marlin.

Find out the rest of the secrets here.

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