Seafood Sustainability 101

April is Earth Month, which means we should be thinking a little bit more about the world around us. Let’s take a deep dive into seafood sustainability and how you can play your part in supporting your health, by eating #Seafood2xWk, and the health of the environment, by eating sustainable #Seafood2xWk.

What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainable seafood means that it has been caught or farmed with minimal impact to the wild population or the environment. To be responsible stewards of the ocean, we need to make sure we are harvesting what we need today but that it will also be available in the future. It’s important to know where seafood comes from – whether from a wild fishery or farm – and it should only be coming from those that are utilizing thoughtful, science-based approaches to their management practices.

What Can You Do?

Try something new to help alleviate the potential of overfishing. Shrimp, salmon and tuna make up more than 50 percent of what we eat in America, but there are hundreds of other species commercially available.

Wild vs. Farmed

Americans would be in better health if we ate more seafood, but the only way to achieve that is through a combination of the wild population and farmed fish (also referred to as aquaculture). Sustainable seafood relies on both types.

There are good wild and farmed sustainable seafood options, and many benefits to farmed fish beyond just providing a healthy meal. Farmed fish can help with the recovery of natural fish populations, improve indigenous food supplies, increase the diversity of available seafood products, and provide a healthier alternative to land-based animal protein.

In the U.S., some of our favorite and most popular seafood options are farmed, such as oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, catfish, trout, salmon and black sea bass. Farming fish, shellfish and even seaweed helps produce food while restoring habitats, replenishing wild stocks, and rebuilding populations of threatened and endangered species. Wild fish can also be sustainable, as long as they are not overfished.

What Can You Do?

There are many excellent seafood guides available (see here for a list of SNP’s partner organizations). A place to start is NOAA’s FishWatch.gov, where there is good information and resources for consumers on its website to learn about different species – both wild and farmed.

Feeling inspired?

Try this mussels recipe. It’s easy, tasty, affordable and, most importantly, sustainable. Enjoy!

 

Mussels In Garlic Broth

From: Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Created By: Chef Kelly Armetta, Hyatt Regency Boston

Serves: 4

All you need:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic, cloves sliced
  • 2 tbsp onions, white or yellow, chopped
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/4 cup clam juice (optional)
  • 2 14.5-oz canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • salt & pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Heat large pot with olive oil and sliced garlic and onions.
  2. When aroma is released, add mussels.
  3. Add lemon juice, herbs and clam juice (optional). Gently toss.
  4. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer over medium heat until mussels are steamed open, generally 3 to 6 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat. Discard unopened mussels.
  6. To finish mussels, add butter and swirl to make broth thicker. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Optional: Serve with crusty bread for dipping in broth.

Author: Linda Cornish

I’m Linda Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the U.S. building awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of seafood. It’s our mission to address the country’s public health crisis through education programs that inspire Americans to incorporate more seafood and omega-3s into their diets for improved health.