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Do you know where your seafood came from?

Posted by | September 19, 2011 | Ocean News | 2 Comments
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The Struggle With Eating Seafood

I love seafood, that is a fact. But at times it is a constant inward struggle to justify my desire to consume marine fauna. This struggle has two important beginnings within my character. One: I love the ocean to the point that I have dedicated my life so far to understanding it. I love swimming and scuba diving and seeing all the cool animals and plants that call the ocean home. I have very often, especially as a kid, wished I was born with gills. I could even go as far as saying I envy marine life for living in the ocean and I consider myself a friend of the ocean and everything in it. So, eating seafood is tantamount to say eating your best friend. Kinda strange put into that context. Two: I have worked as a fisheries observer for four and a half years, which means I full well know how non-sustainable some fishing practices can be. One would conclude that I would not eat seafood at all with my experience and interests.

Research Your Seafood

I am very judicious in my seafood decisions. I am a hound at the grocery store. In fact, I rarely buy seafood at the grocery store. I usually walk by the seafood counter just to see what is in stock. I take note of country of origin and whether it was wild or farmed. Like everything I eat, I would rather buy something that has traveled less distance even if I pay slightly more for it. For me this accomplishes two things: the seafood is more fresh and I support local business. Everyone has had to tighten their budgets in the Great Recession but for me an investment in quality food is one of the best things money can buy. Like the old saying, “you are what you eat”. The better the quality of the food, the better the quality of my health.

CSF: Agreat Solution

Some people are aware of CSAs, which are Community Supported Agriculture. There is a newer version of this concept labeled Community Supported Fishery (CSF). Individuals or groups can buy shares of catch from fisherpeople directly. Imagine the benefits! The consumer knows the fisherperson and the boat. They also are buying fresh seafood that they know has not been sitting in a freezer for months. And the fisherperson benefits by recieving a higher price for their catch. Definitely a win-win situation. Of course this is restricted to communities near the ocean but 50% of the population of Earth live close to or on a coast. If you are not near to a CSF, read the labels at the seafood counter and do the research.

Environment Over Economics? Again!

Some strange things have come to my attention recently. One, the World Trade Organization has made a ruling on Dolphin Safe Tuna labels in the U.S. It was ruled overly restrictive and stifles free trade with tuna imported from Mexico. Mexico does not have the same restrictions on Tuna fishing as the U.S. has to protect dolphins. The importance of trade outweighing the importance of environmental stewardship is definitely a cause for concern. Two, while perusing the canned seafood isle, I noticed cans of salmon that stated: Product of Thailand. Ocean Beauty Seafoods, LLC’s website claims the salmon are wild caught Alaskan salmon frozen and shipped to Thailand. Business decisions like this boggle my mind. Is it cheaper to can in Southern Asia? Maybe, but what about the environmental cost of shipping across the Pacific Ocean, twice, not to mention the monetary cost of the fuel. Both of these instances highlight the importance of knowing where your seafood come from.

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