How to be a responsible fish eater? Guide to choosing sustainable seafood.

I love seafood. And I am very aware of the fact that the world is getting over-fished, and some of our beloved seafood varieties are slowly declining in number. So when I picked up a guide to choosing sustainable seafood from The National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, I thought I’d share!

I love a good seafood dish, but do we all know where our seafood comes from? Are we doing the right things?
I love a good seafood dish, but do we all know where our seafood comes from? Are we doing the right things?

So, how to make as little environmental impact as possible when you are a seafood lover? Here it is.

  1. Mix it up: Don’t stick to just your favourite type of seafood all the time, especially when it comes to fish.
    This allows a more evenly spread of demand and allow the fishing industry to make more sound judgements when it comes to which varieties to supply.
  2. Purchase low impact varieties: buying seafood caught in more environmentally friendly way (line caught, trap, pot or dive caught for example) to reduce discards and habitat impacts.
  3. Know your fish! As much as possible, always buy locally. Even supermarket labelling can help you decide if the particular seafood had come all the way from the otherside of the world, or caught up the coast from where you are. The less distance they have to travel means the less impact the product has had from being caught to your plate.
  4. Avoid threatened species: there is a lot of talk about the exotic blue fin tuna, deep sea fishes, Atlantic Halibut, some varieties of sharks, Common Skate and Sturgeon are all on the Endangered species list.
  5. Eat in season: eating seafood that are in season allows the spieces to bread and grow. Avoid eating immature fish, or eating crustations during spawning times, when they are bearing eggs that can develop to the next generation. This gives everyone more seafood for the future.
  6. Check the labels: Look out for eco-labels that should be on most fresh, tinned and packaged seafood, to make better environmentally friendly choices.
A bluefin tuna being tagged for release by CSIRO scientists (Image source: Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0 | By: CSIRO)
A bluefin tuna being tagged for release by CSIRO scientists (Image source: Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0 | By: CSIRO)

For more detailed information visit the Good Fish Guide or your local marine conservation society.

In Australia, you can also visit Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide for information local to the region.

(Content adapted from the Good Fish Guide content)

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