The holidays are here and with them all the family reunions and meetings with friends. Eating is a part of the holiday spirit, no matter what your religion…and you will be eating a ton of food. Food is part of our culture, we even have special recipes for some special dates like Christmas. We can’t avoid it. But what if I tell you that you can help the ocean by eating? Making the right choices will help you cook the same traditional recipes while helping the planet. And that’s the best taste.
Everything you buy is labeled. Labels may differ between countries, but you should always find the origin of the product. Here comes the first tip: buy local products. It’s very simple, but very helpful, because you will save all the fossil fuels used for a long-distance transportation.
Buying local fish is also better for the oceans because buying non-local fish are frozen on the ship right after they are caught, which uses gases that are bad for the atmosphere, like R-22. So, the carbon footprint of what you’re buying will be smaller when you buy local. And you will help the local economy too. Those are 2 pretty good benefits!
You should also take into account the size of the fish that you are buying, so take a look also at the size of the fish. If it’s too small, don’t buy it! If we eat the young fishes, there will mature individuals to perpetuate the species. And if you want to eat some caviar, buy the farmed one, and you won’t be damaging the fish population!
You can find a lot of sustainable recipes through the internet, but most likely, you will want to use a family recipe you don’t want to change. Don’t worry! There’s a solution for that too. There is an mobile app developed by the great people at the Monterey Bay Aquarium called Seafood Watch. This app gives you the details on the type of fish you should eat as well as avoid.
For example if you see tuna on the menu at a restaurant or at a grocery store you look up the species in the Seafood Watch app and it will tell you the species to avoid and the ones to eat.The app tells us to avoid using Canned Tuna except for cans that say troll- or pole-caught as they are the more sustainable options. They are the best methods for our oceans, as they let the communities grow enough to compensate the captures. Your meal will taste the same, and you will be helping the ocean at the same time just by taking some time to choose the product.
You will always find a more sustainable fish with a similar flavour that the one you wanted to use. I have to admit that there’s situations when we can’t find any alternative. Prawns are coming to my mind. The less you eat them, the better. Most of them are from tropical water, and they grow really quickly, so they are resisting overfishing. But the methods fishermen use to catch prawns are incredibly harmful, as they use trawl nets, and even the farmed ones are bad for our environment.
Fish farmers destroy wide areas of mangrove forest, a kind of ecosystem with a huge biodiversity that also protects the coast from erosion and climatic phenomenons, to build prawn farms.Try to avoid tropical prawns, and buy them from colder waters, as the prawn caught in the Canadian Atlantic, Oregon and British Columbia are more sustainable. Also, you can find certified local shrimps. As you can see, there’s always something you can do!
Remember, buying sustainable seafood doesn’t mean to spend more money! You can make a big differente with a little effort. You can find a lot of information through the Internet, the Monterey Seafood Watch Program is the best place to start. The site will provide you with instructions on how you can download the mobile apps for better convinience
What about you? Have you changed any recipe in order to make it better for our oceans?
Share your ideas in the comments below