Below is Part 2 of our interview with the people from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
What is fish farming? Is this a good thing for the environment?
Fish farming, also known as aquaculture is the practice of raising fish in farms that vary from traditional earthen ponds to high tech tank systems. Each type of system has its own distinct environmental footprint. Seafood Watch recommendations will help you find which species are farmed in ways that are better for the environment. These are often shellfish and fish that don't need a lot of wild-caught fish to feed them. Some types of fish farming are definitely not environmentally friendly. For example, most farmed salmon are raised in ways that are detrimental to the environment and to wild populations of small fish like sardines and anchovies that are caught to feed them. Turning edible fish into fish pellets takes food from the food chain, as well as from people's plates.
What, if any, misconceptions do you think people have about ocean health and their contribution to it?
Most people probably think that pollution from industry, including oil spills, is probably the biggest threat to the ocean. Many people believe our oceans are healthy. It is often a surprise to hear that 90% of all the big predatory fish are gone, and that over two-thirds of the world's oceans are overfished.
By continuing to increase our consumption each year of seafood, especially items like salmon and shrimp, we are contributing to either overfishing, destructive bycatch practices - where marine wildlife is accidentally caught and discarded - or environmentally damaging farming practices such as salmon farms in our nearshore ocean ecosystems.
By being aware of the issues of overfishing, climate change, pollution and habitat damage, we can adapt our buying habits to tread more carefully on this precious resource. When we make sustainable seafood choices we vote with our dollars, which ultimately result in a more responsible food chain and more environmentally friendly fishing and farming practices. In this way we can secure a future with healthy oceans.
For more information about the Seafood Watch Program, or to access the Seafood Watch Guide, please visit - SeafoodWatch.com