Monday, October 19, 2009

Sustainable Seafood

I was researching the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss for a post on another blog recently and came across the Smithsonian Institution's Sustainable Seafood website.

The site complements their own book, One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish: The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook. It's an interesting site about the seafood you might be enjoying at dinner tonight or catching this weekend in our Jersey waters.

We generally think of seafood as a healthy choice, but not all finfish and shellfish that are available in today's U.S. markets and restaurants are good choices from an environmental perspective.

Population sizes of seafood species vary over time - both naturally and depending on how heavily they are fished. Some are clearly in good shape due in part to good fisheries management, and those are excellent seafood choices. Others have experienced dramatic declines due to over harvesting or environmental fluctuations, and choosing those seafood species further contributes to the problems. Many seafood species fall somewhere in between - not bad choices, but there are concerns that you may want to be aware of.

The site separates seafood species into "suggested" and "problematic" choices based on current scientific data. Are our New Jersey flounder suggested or problematic? And what's going on with our Mid-Atlantic fisheries?

You can find landings charts on the Smithsonian site that show the number of pounds of a seafood species that have been caught over time. You will also find links to scientific reports that document how some fishing practices and even seafood farming can be detrimental.

They also summarize the current issues surrounding seafood choices under the "Issues" link.

Users of all ages may want to visit the virtual Seafood Market and try your hand at making sustainable seafood choices.

Other Related Reading
Ocean Friendly Cuisine: Sustainable Seafood Recipes From The World's Finest Chefs

Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood