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."
“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."
"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.
Sustainable Seafood Books
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 www.solutionsforseafood.org.
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
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 www.solutionsforseafood.org.
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.