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#1 scottleslie

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 02:26 PM

I'm curious, how many others out there won't eat any wild caught seafood in support of the ocean?
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#2 mcliffy2

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:17 PM

I'm curious, how many others out there won't eat any wild caught seafood in support of the ocean?


I stick by the seafood watch guide: http://www.montereyb...afoodwatch.aspx (IMHO it is incredibly irresponsible/hypocritical of anyone who loves the underwater world to consume non-sustainable seafood, or put in a less PC manner, to contribute to the extinction of countless species). As for whether or not to consume wild seafood that is caught in a sustainable manner, I think there are valid points on both sides of this issue.

On one hand, there are issues with whether or not sustainable fisheries are really sustainable (MSC has come under fire as of late), and there is the thought that there is simply no reason we should deplete our last wild food source in any way. Sylvia Earle is a proponent of this (and for those who haven't read her book "The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's are One", it is a MUST read). The other side of the debate is that in order for sustainable fisheries to win out over non-sustainable fisheries, consumers need to not only use their economic power to discourage non-sustainable practices (i.e., by refusing to purchase non-sustainable fish), but to support sustainable fisheries (i.e., by using their buying power to make sustainable fisheries profitable).

I personally lean towards the latter view, as I believe eliminating all consumption of fish is a noble, but idealistic goal, and not really feasible given the immediate change that is needed to save the world's fish stocks. I think that we stand a better chance of convincing the world as a whole to eat sustainable fish, than convincing everyone not to eat any fish. To make this work, there need to be sustainable fisheries that are successful, and I think its up to those of us at the forefront of the issue to support sustainable fisheries with our dollars. So in answer to the original question, I not only do eat wild-caught seafood that is sustainable, I think it is important for those of us aware of the bleak future that the ocean is currently facing to support sustainable fisheries so that they can (hopefully) become the majority instead of the minority.

One other note, and I'm not sure if this is an assumption built in to your question or not, but it is important to note that "farm-raised" fish are often worse than wild-caught fish. First, some farm-raised fish such as salmon are fed wild-caught fish that are being fished in a non-sustainable manner, making the farm-raised fish equally destructive in this regard. However, when you also factor in the habitat destruction and pollution that is produced by some fish farms, it is arguable that such farmed fish are even worse than wild-caught. There are some sustainable farms, but you really need to investigate the practices of each farm to determine whether their fish is sustainable.

Edited by mcliffy2, 10 December 2010 - 03:18 PM.


#3 bvanant

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:27 PM

I'm curious, how many others out there won't eat any wild caught seafood in support of the ocean?

If you look at the Monterey Bay Seafood watch, for "best choices" there are 21 choices and 9 are farmed or farmed and wild (Scallops and Striped Bass). The problem is that albacore is a best choice if it is from U.S. and Canadian pacific, a good alternative if it is from Hawaii and to be avoided if it is from anywhere else. Unless you have a perfectly ethical fish guy how do you know and even if he is honest how do you know the guy he buys from is legit. But the health benefits of seafood are such that eating certain kinds of wild caught fish that are managed carefully is a good thing to do in my opinion.

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#4 mcliffy2

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 03:46 PM

If you look at the Monterey Bay Seafood watch, for "best choices" there are 21 choices and 9 are farmed or farmed and wild (Scallops and Striped Bass). The problem is that albacore is a best choice if it is from U.S. and Canadian pacific, a good alternative if it is from Hawaii and to be avoided if it is from anywhere else. Unless you have a perfectly ethical fish guy how do you know and even if he is honest how do you know the guy he buys from is legit. But the health benefits of seafood are such that eating certain kinds of wild caught fish that are managed carefully is a good thing to do in my opinion.

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It is difficult, and there is no clear-cut right answer. For example, there are some "yellow" choices on Seafood Watch that are caught using longlines, and I fail to see how longlines can really be sustainable, and they are morally questionable due to significant bycatch of sharks, rays, turtles, etc.

I am pretty lucky to have Dirk's Seafood in Chicago. They sell nothing but sustainable seafood and partner with Shedd Aquarium's Right Bite program for many events. If you are in the Chicago-land area, they are a great place to check out -- I highly recommend their spicy tuna rolls made with Hawaiian poll & line caught yellowfin tuna.
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#5 deepsea

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 05:16 PM

I think it also depends on the area you live, small islands obviously only have so many resources as well as ways to maintain sustainable levels when such a high percentage of the population will naturally eat fish.

The seafood guides do not really work for the restaurants here in the way they do in the US or Europe. We try and work with the restaurants and commercial and sports fishermen here, to monitor their catches and to protect certain species from exploitation, however tourists travel to these islands to eat as much fresh fish as they can. We even put out newsletters to operators on the status of certain species especially by catch species and for example lobster sizes. It would be good to be able to put out some general information for tourists to be able to make sustainable choices whilst they are here on holiday.

For me its easy, I eat nothing from the ocean, rivers or streams.
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#6 scottleslie

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 06:35 PM

My position, too.

For me its easy, I eat nothing from the ocean, rivers or streams.


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#7 AMW

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 07:23 PM

Both my wife and I decided to stop eating anything from the ocean or from any other body of water. This decision was fully for environmental reasons.

#8 gina

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 08:39 PM

I became a vegetarian for environmental reasons. I will never eat fish or seafood again.

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#9 Drew

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 09:08 PM

Just for those who have quit marine food, if you eat meat, make sure you buy meat reared without using fishmeal as a fattener. Also for vegetarians, if you use protein boosters, ensure usually it's not fish based.

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#10 deepsea

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 10:39 PM

Just for those who have quit marine food, if you eat meat, make sure you buy meat reared without using fishmeal as a fattener. Also for vegetarians, if you use protein boosters, ensure usually it's not fish based.


Good points Drew, I do check everything, I even gave up Worcestershire sauce (a British favourite). Not everyone has to go this far, sustainable choices are important, and each person should and can make their own choices.
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#11 Drew

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:09 AM

Well you don't have to give it up. You can have Kosher or anchovy free Worcestershire. Go an extra step and get organic W sauce like Wizard's, which is what is sitting in my bar (although I'm sure I didn't buy it!). No Bloody Marys without it! :)

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#12 scottleslie

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 06:06 AM

Just for those who have quit marine food, if you eat meat, make sure you buy meat reared without using fishmeal as a fattener. Also for vegetarians, if you use protein boosters, ensure usually it's not fish based.


Yes, good point, and don't let the salmon farming industry tell you that eating their fish is sustainable. Here, in Nova Scotia, it takes about 5 pounds of salmon feed made from wild caught fish such as herring and sardines, etc. to make one pound of farmed salmon. We live in the middle of a traditional fishing region and I've seen fish hand how much the sea has changed, both from the brutally dwindled catches of fisherman and because I just don't see nearly as many fish when I dive as I did when I began diving in the 1990's.
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#13 danielandrewclem

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 09:11 AM

For example, there are some "yellow" choices on Seafood Watch that are caught using longlines, and I fail to see how longlines can really be sustainable, and they are morally questionable due to significant bycatch of sharks, rays, turtles, etc.


It depends what kind of longlines are being used. Pelagic longlines are the ones we think of as the scourge of the open ocean—lots of bycatch of turtles, albatrosses, sharks, etc.—but other kinds of longlines aren't as bad because they fish on or near the bottom—away from turtles, epipelagic sharks, etc.

MBA's Seafood Watch has been the most popular guide for a long time, largely because they got there first, but they've got some outdated and plainly inaccurate info. (They are supposedly overhauling their guidelines, and I hope that's true.) For example, they suggest buying "hook-and-line" haddock, and they define hook-and-line gear the way you'd think: individual lines dropped into the water, as in a rod and reel set-up. But in reality, "hook-and-line" haddock is caught by demersal longlines, a.k.a. tub trawls, that sink to the seafloor and are hauled up after an hour or so of soaking. The only similarity between this kind of longlining and rod-and-reel fishing is the presence of baited hooks and lines of some sort. Of course, the "hook" fishery doesn't mind that MBA, markets, restaurants, and the press are going with "hook-and-line haddock" or the more vague "line-caught haddock" on their menus, since it makes most people think of clean rod-and-reel fishing and not of any kind of longlining. That said, the haddock fishery is actually quite clean and selective, and it deserves to be on a green list. And it really has very little in common with the dirty pelagic longlining that is of such concern on the high seas. But why not be accurate in describing it? This is something that is unnecessarily flawed about Seafood Watch.

Incidentally, the New York Times had a good article a few years ago about the number of northeastern restaurants that were advertising this haddock (and line-caught cod) when, in fact, the fleet couldn't possibly be catching enough fish to meet the demand of all those eateries. In other words, some places were selling trawl or gillnet-caught haddock and cod, but they were selling it as "day boat line-caught cod" or "hood-and-line haddock." It's way too easy for someone—a dealer, a distributor, a chef, a waiter, a fishmonger—to straight-up lie or pass on whatever lie they've been fed.
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