Eating Sustainable Seafood - Three Tips to Steer Clear of Fisheries Collapse

The end of fish?: A guide to help turn the tide, produced by faircompanies sustainable news

The world’s fish populations are increasingly endangered from overfishing, pollution, and overconsumption. A study late last year reported that major fish species, including tuna, scallops, lobster, and flounder, could be effectively extinct by the middle of the century. But fishery collapses are not inevitable, says Brian Halweil, senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute.

Here are Brian’s tips on how to continue enjoying the health benefits of seafood while avoiding fishery depletions and the toxins present in many fish:

  1. Eat less of the big fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish and sharks. These are among the most vulnerable populations, and also the fish that live the longest, have the most fat, and accumulate the most toxins over their lifespan.
  2. Eat lower on the marine food chain, including smaller species such as clams, oysters, mollusks, anchovies, and sardines. Smaller species are less endangered because they are more abundant, reproduce faster, and feed lower on the food chain (so they don’t consume other fish themselves.) They also have less fat and don’t accumulate as many toxins as the larger, longer-lived fish species.
  3. Keep in mind how fish are caught. Some trawling nets are so large they could pull a 747 jet off the ocean floor. Instead, choose fish caught by line, pot, or net (or other artisanal methods) and avoid trawl-caught fish.

Whether you have health concerns or are concerned about fish populations in general, it's a good idea to eat lower on the marine food chain.

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More Resources:

Brian’s Blog
Good Stuff? Seafood
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Blue Ocean Institute
WWF's Marine Program
Environmental Defense
Sea Around Us Project
Marine Stewardship Council
Ecofish
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