Sep 22 2019

Where have all the fish gone?

Published by at 1:29 pm under General

Where have all the fish gone?

Industrial fishing practices and consumer demand are changing the landscape of our oceans.

Last time we talked about our oceans and the impact that overfishing has had on the amount of wildlife found there. Where it seems that the oceans are endless, industrial fishing has depleted the oceans just as industrial farming has depleted our soils. Fish can’t reproduce fast enough to keep up with the demand, and this is going to have a  long term, negative effect on all of us if we don’t act now 1*

As the bigger fish disappear, fisherman go for the smaller catch – those fish that act as food for the bigger fish. If we deplete these also, it will negatively impact the entire food chain. Fish are an important food to include in our diets due to their high levels of naturally occurring omega 3 fatty acids. But if we don’t choose wisely, we are contributing to this problem of over fishing, and also could be consuming seafood high in mercury and other pollutants.1*

The industry is paying attention to this problem due to the help of researchers and largely due other research done through the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, *The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch®  program “…empowers both consumers and businesses to make good choices which will result in healthier oceans and diverse marine ecosystems for years to come…” Many fishing practices are changing due to this research, and one such practice is known as Aquaculture. (1,2)*

Fish farming has actually been practiced for hundreds of years in some parts of the world. Today, half of the seafood we eat in the US is farmed. Aquaculture is a fast growing facet of in the global market, all in order to meet the growing global demand for seafood When good practices are used, farming seafood can  have  very little impact on the environment which can limit habitat damage, disease, escapes of farmed fish and the use of wild fish as feed but there are many cases where this has not been the case and regulatory authorities are working to make sure of good practices..(1,2)                                           

*“…In the next decade, the majority of fish we eat will be farm-raised, not wild. Global aquaculture includes over 100 species, farmed in everything from traditional earthen ponds to high-tech tank systems. Each farming system has its own distinct environmental footprint. By choosing seafood from better farms and production systems, consumers can play a positive role in reducing aquaculture’s potential negative impact…”(1,2)                                                                                                                        

Seafood Watch® uses science-based, peer review methods to assess “…how fisheries and farmed seafood impact the environment and provides recommendations indicating which items are “Best Choices” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones to “Avoid.”…” Through its app, pocket guides and, website, Seafood Watch® is creating awareness. It also partners with businesses, culinary leaders, aquariums and zoos to bring this issue to the consumer. Through their recommendations, they help us, as consumers to choose “…seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment…”(1,2,3)*                                                                                                                                                                                      

Seek out the Sustainable (by referring to Seafood Watch®

Some sources of seafood are more sustainable than others. Farm raised oysters, clams and mussels are an excellent choice with most oysters, and many clams and mussels on the U.S. market being farm-raised. They don’t require supplemental feeding and can improve water quality! Sadly, two of our  most popular seafood items in the US, shrimp and tuna,  are among the worst choices when caught in the wild by commercial methods with their capture having some of the greatest impacts on incidentally-caught animals. 3*

Support restaurants who are Restaurant Partners. (Listed on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website).

These restaurants have agreed to no longer serve items from the red or Avoid list. They also educate their staff to create and raise awareness about sustainable seafood in their communities.3*

Ask the question: ”Do you sell sustainable seafood?”                                                                                                               By asking this simple but important question at your grocery store or restaurant, you can help shape the demand and supply for fish that’s been caught or farmed in environmentally responsible ways. When chatting with the sushi chef, let them know it is important to you and find out where they get their fish. Ask if the seafood is farmed or wild, how it was caught and where it’s from.3*

Download the Seafood Watch® App from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here you can find recommendations for sustainable seafood choices based on where you live, a place you are traveling to, or nationwide. You can visit their website to download their pocketsize printable guide or download the Seafood Watch App from iTunes or Google Play.3*

Seafood Watch Ratings                                                                     Best Choices are those fish varieties that cause little harm to habitats and are well-managed.   The Good Alternatives list present some concerns with how they are farmed or caught, and should be consumed in limited amounts.

Avoid list are the varieties which are overfished or farmed or caught in ways that damage the environment and other marine life.3*

On the Best Choice list are:

Abalone (farmed)

Arctic Char (farmed)

Barramundi (US & Vietnam farmed)

Bass (US hooks and lines, farmed)

Catfish (US)

Clams, Cockles, Mussels

Cod: Pacific (AK)

Crab: King, Snow & Tanner (AK)

Lionfish (US)

Lobster: Spiny (Mexico)

Oysters (farmed & Canada)

Prawn (Canada & US)

Rockfish (AK, CA, OR & WA)

Sablefish/Black Cod (AK)

Salmon (New Zealand)

Sand dab (CA, OR & WA)

Scallops (farmed)

Shrimp (US farmed)

Squid (US)

Tilapia (Canada, Ecuador, Peru & US)

Trout (US farmed)

Tuna: Albacore (trolls, pole and lines)

Tuna: Skipjack (Pacific trolls, pole and lines) 3*

On the Avoid List are:

Basa/Pangasius/Swai

Cod: Atlantic (gillnet, longline, trawl)

Cod: Pacific (Japan & Russia)

Crab (Argentina, Asia & Russia)

Halibut: Atlantic (wild)

Lobster: Spiny (Belize, Brazil, Honduras & Nicaragua)

Mahi Mahi (imported)

Orange Roughy

Octopus (other imported sources)

Pollock (Canada trawls & Russia)

Salmon (Canada Atlantic, Chile, Norway & Scotland)

Sardines: Atlantic (Mediterranean)

Sharks

Shrimp (other imported sources)

Squid (Argentina, China, India & Thailand)

Swordfish (imported longlines)

Tilapia (China)

Tuna: Albacore (imported except trolls, pole and lines)

Tuna: Bluefin

Tuna: Skipjack (imported purse seines)

Tuna: Yellowfin (longlines except US)3*

This list can be somewhat confusing and might surprise you, so you do need to do your research. For example,  Albacore Tuna is on both lists but it depends on how it was caught and where. Keep in mind, many tuna are high in mercury but albacore tuna–the kind of white tuna that’s commonly canned- receives a ‘Super Green’ rating but only if it is “troll- or pole-caught” in the US or British Columbia. Younger, smaller fish, (usually less than 20 pounds), are typically caught this way (as opposed to the larger fish caught on long lines). Look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue eco label to be sure.(2,3)*

There is a lot of information on this topic and the dos and don’ts of buying fish on the Seafood Watch® app and website. I hope this gives you a taste of what you can do to choose wisely when it comes to buying fish. Keep in mind that Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ helps the body process toxins ingested and helps provide the friendly bacteria we need to keep our guts healthy. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits and healthy meats to include fish are part of this regimen. As with all food, we must commit to healthy choices to keep our guts healthy. Choosing the right seafood is just part of this diet. I’ve listed additional resources below for more reading on this topic.*

Healthiest Wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/overfishing
  2. https://www.seafoodwatch.org/ocean-issues/fishing-and-farming-methods
  3. https://www.seafoodwatch.org/
  4. https://newsroom.montereybayaquarium.org/seafood-watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCs1H1dBIYU&feature=youtu.be
  5. https://www.onemedical.com/blog/eat-well/healthy-fish-eating-guide
  6. http://www.seafoodslaveryrisk.org/

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