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Sustainable Seafood

Updated on January 1, 2015

Sustainable Seafood Information

This page has information on sustainability issues that apply to wild caught seafood as well as farm raised products.

Sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices allow us to enjoy healthy fish and shellfish that without exploiting populations of wildlife.

Sustainability implications apply not only to species harvested, but also bycatch, damage to the environment by gear and even foods that are used in aquaculture.

What is Sustainable Seafood?

sustainable seafood definitions

The following are various definitions of sustainable seafood:

From NOAA FishWatch:

"Seafood is sustainable when the population of that species of fish is managed in a way that provides for today's needs without damaging the ability of the species to reproduce and be available for future generations. If you buy fish managed under a U.S. fishery management plan, you can be assured it meets 10 national standards that ensure fish stocks are maintained, overfishing is eliminated, and the long-term socioeconomic benefits to the nation are achieved."

NOAA Fisheries:

“Ten National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, backed up by the principles of other applicable law such as the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Act, function as the US fisheries sustainability standards”.

The David Suzuki Foundation:

"The David Suzuki Foundation has adopted the definition of sustainable seafood as originating from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production in the long term without jeopardizing the structure or function of affected ecosystems. has adopted the definition of sustainable seafood as originating from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production in the long term without jeopardizing the structure or function of affected ecosystems."

Seafood Watch:

"At Seafood Watch we help sustain wild, diverse and healthy ocean ecosystems that will exist long into the future. We do this by encouraging consumers and businesses to purchase seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that don't harm the environment. When there is scientific uncertainty, we err on the side of conservation."

More About Seafood

Seafood is defined as any sea animal or seaweed that is edible and served as food, including fish and shellfish (mollusks and crustaceans). Edible seaweeds are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world. The harvesting of seafood is known as fishing and the cultivation of seafood is known as aquaculture, mariculture, or fish farming.

Survey Shows Sustainable Seafood is Among Hottest Menu Trends for 2010

The National Restaurant Association’s annual survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – reveals that local sourcing of ingredients, sustainability and nutrition will be the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2010. Locally grown produce, locally sourced meats and seafood, sustainability, mini-desserts and locally produced wine and beer top the list of nearly 215 culinary items in the “What’s Hot in 2010” survey.


US officials seem to have set sights on making American seafood supplies sustainable. Bill Hogarth, former director of NOAA Fisheries Service issued a prepared statement that proclaimed "Overfishing must be solved now. We have the right combination of legal tools to improve stewardship, and we're moving full throttle ahead with implementing the new mandate to end overfishing so future generations of Americans can enjoy sustainable and healthy marine ecosystems."

Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions

Businesses Seeking Expertise from the Conservation Community Now Have Clear Steps for Moving Ahead on Sustainable Seafood Groups Release Ambitious, Realistic Vision for Ensuring a Long-Term Seafood Supply

More than a dozen Canadian and U.S. organizations released steps companies can take to develop and implement a comprehensive, corporate policy on sustainable, wild-caught and farmed seafood.

The "Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood" highlights a clear path for achieving sustainability in the seafood industry. For a full copy of the Common Vision, visit

The following organizations developed and are actively supporting the Common Vision:

Blue Ocean Institute

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

David Suzuki Foundation

Ecology Action Centre

Environmental Defense Fund



Living Oceans Society

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Natural Resources Defense Council

New England Aquarium

Ocean Conservancy

Sierra Club British Columbia

World Wildlife Fund - US

For more information about the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood, visit

American Seafood Facts

Seafood is generally low in fat, high in protein and nutrients, and high in Omega 3.

Americans now spend over $50 billion a year for fishery products, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

U.S. seafood consumption has exceeds 16 pounds per person per year.

The Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976

The Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 established a U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between 3 and 200 miles offshore, and created eight regional fishery councils to manage the living marine resources within that area. The bill was amended on October 11, 1996 and re-named the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The Act was passed principally to address heavy foreign fishing, promote the development of a domestic fleet and link the fishing community more directly to the management process. Each Council was directed to prepare fishery management plans for implementation by the Secretary of Commerce. The eight councils are administered by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service).

The 1996 amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, known as the Sustainable Fisheries Act, significantly changed the focus of fisheries management by adding key provisions to address overfishing of currently depressed stocks, rebuild depleted stocks,reduce bycatch and minimize the mortality of unavoidable bycatch, designate and conserve essential fish habitat, reform the approval process for FMPs and regulations, reduce conflict-of-interest on regional councils and establish user fees.

Sustainability Feedback

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    • profile image

      jarredneil 6 years ago

      Definition Of Sustainability

      The definition of sustainability depends on the context of economics that one is taking the story from. This is an economical social and ecological concept of life that makes sure that everything is good enough for everybody. The sustainability is aimed at ensuring civilization in all human aspects as a person aspires to doing what is good for a period of time. Through sustainability, the level of organizations affected from all angles of life. Many people do not like talking about the subject because of its nature and this is what makes the topic become contentious at times.

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      WiserEarth 6 years ago

      Thanks for this important lens!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Great lens. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on Save Planet Earth

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 7 years ago from Idaho

      I love this lens, seafood is my favorite, I have to eat some every trip to the Oregon Coast each year, because it is so fresh and yummy there! Thanks for being part of the Exploring Oregon Group. I have just updated our group and wanted to invite all the lensmasters to see our new facelift! 5* to a great Squidoo Lensmaster!


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      kimmanleyort 8 years ago

      I was going to do a lens on this but you have done a fine job. This is very valuable information. Lensrolled to my ocean related lenses.

    • Mybissnes profile image

      Mybissnes 9 years ago


    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      Welcome to the Exploring Oregon Group, were happy to have you join us! :-) Linda

      PS: Shined up those stars ***** for you!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 9 years ago from Idaho

      Hi, Wonderful lens, and very interesting reading, I learned a lot. I would like to invite you to join my new group called Exploring Oregon. :-) I'm inviting lens' of quality, and I like yours, you did a wonderful job! You can join through this link, if you would like to, since you are pre-approved! Linda