Not so many years ago, people thought that the oceans were invulnerable to overfishing and marine life depletion; the ocean's are, people figured, so vast and large that they could easily absorb whatever we take away or put in it. That reasoning has been proved dead wrong. Today we know that the ocean is fragile and that many of the world's fish stocks are severely depleted due to overfishing, bycatch and poor fishery management. But this needn't be so. There's still time to change the course of our world's oceans. Consumers, with a little knowledge and awareness can help to drive the market for sustainable seafood.
Consumers can support fisheries like those in Alaska. Alaska was actually the first state to have its salmon fisheries, the largest in the nation, certified by the MSC or Marine Stewardship Council. Alaska's fisheries excel at sustainable fishing practices, in fact, due to their stringent laws and respect for the environment, they have helped greatly to drive the market for sustainable seafood.
All Alaskan seafood is wild and sustainable and managed for protection against habitat destruction, pollution and overfishing. Alaska has it written in their constitution to protect and preserve their seafood stocks for the future (fish...be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle"). Alaska sets the standard. They engage in precautionary management and every aspect of Alaska's fisheries have been strictly regulated, monitored and enforced for nearly half a century. They are a model for sustainability for the world.
In the effort drive the market for sustainable seafood, consumers need to demand that their local restaurants stock and serve sustainable seafood such as that found in Alaska. Other measures they can take to ensure the viability of our oceans include being aware of the choices they have and making smart decisions when it comes to what's for dinner. Consumers can eat more of marine food lower on the food chain such as clams, oysters, anchovies and sardines. These are less endangered because they are more abundant. When it comes to farmed or wild, things can get tricky. However, generally, choosing farmed American catfish, tilapia and trout is a good choice as these tend to be less environmentally damaging. Steer clear from those raised in China, as these aren't eco-friendly. Avoid farmed salmon, even the organic kind. Again, Alaska wild caught salmon is an excellent choice.