There is more to making responsible seafood choices than, “Which fish should I eat?”
Seafood for the Future has provided some tools and resources to help you make seafood decisions that are good for people and the environment. The key to successful use of these recommendations is to keep in mind that they provide guidance for making seafood choices that support progress towards a sustainable food future. No one recommendation is the “silver bullet” answer to responsible seafood sourcing, as each provides stronger efficiencies in some areas than others. This is to be expected since the definitions and variables that must be considered for sustainable production are diverse and complex. Some important issues that are addressed directly and indirectly by the following resources include: the status of the stock, bycatch, fish and ecosystem health, employee welfare, and food safety. Some of the organizations listed are also working to integrate climate change and social responsibility into their vetting and ranking schemes. Collectively, these resources are helping businesses and consumers to support a healthy and environmentally responsible seafood supply. While the following resources are among the most rigorous and effective tools in terms of making responsible seafood sourcing easier, they do not cover all seafood. Just because something isn’t recommended or certified, doesn’t mean it is not a responsible seafood choice.
Additional tools that are contributing to an environmentally and socially responsible seafood supply include: fishery and aquaculture improvement projects; outreach and education efforts within the communities that depend on these resources for their livelihoods; and research and development of technologies that promote efficient seafood production with fewer impacts on the environment.
Tips for supporting an environmentally responsible seafood supply
Buy U.S. seafood
U.S. seafood is among the best-managed in the world. Buying local supports environmentally responsible harvesting and farming practices and local coastal communities. It also reduces the risk of seafood fraud, as it is much easier to trace local seafood products.
Try something new
Shrimp, tuna, and salmon are the top-consumed seafood items in the U.S. While there are responsible options for all of these choices, we need to diversify our demand to support a balanced seafood supply.
Look for certified seafood products
Can’t find a U.S. product to meet your needs? Look for products certified by credible 3rd party certifiers like the Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices.
Support businesses working with seafood advisory programs like Seafood for the Future
There are many businesses and restaurants working with Seafood for the Future and programs like it to improve the seafood supply chain using various strategies, including:
- Responsible Sourcing – Businesses make commitments to purchase seafood from sources that have been vetted and approved by some of the most rigorous standards for responsible seafood production.
- Investments – Businesses invest in projects that support environmentally and socially responsible seafood production.
- Education and Outreach – Businesses work with organizations and advisory programs to educate their customers, staff, and stakeholders about environmentally and socially responsible seafood.
- Transparency – Businesses provide information regarding the environmental and social performance of their seafood products and publicly report on progress towards meeting environmentally and socially responsible seafood sourcing commitments.
Find restaurants and businesses that are supporting and/or participating in sustainable seafood programs at: FishChoice.com