Sustainable Seafood Is Seafood Savvy

Seafood SavvyWith START’s ongoing efforts in educational outreach to preserve our marine environment, it was a logical step for us to expand our subject area to include the increasing importance of sustainable seafood practices. With 90% of the large fish species like Tuna and Cod already gone from our oceans, the state of the world’s fisheries is a great concern. Already here in the United States, we eat more farmed seafood than wild caught seafood and over 80% of the seafood we eat here in the U.S. is imported. The growing worldwide demand for valuable protein from seafood coupled with the mass production fishing techniques used in our oceans today has led to mass overfishing and stressed populations of many of our favorite food fish species. Nearly 76% of all the fisheries around the world have been overfished. The situation is made even more untenable as nearly one out of every four fish caught in the wild today is thrown away as unwanted bycatch.

What is Sustainable Seafood ?

To help address this worldwide problem, START has become a partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program to help promote sustainable seafood practices. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  describes sustainable seafood as “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”.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History adds that sustainable seafood can be either wild-caught or farmed raised, but it must be harvested with care to maintain stable catch levels for the long term without major harm to the environment or other sea life.

To make more people aware of the need for sustainable seafood practices, START has launched Seafood Savvy, an initiative through events and programs here in our local Gulf Coast communities to provide more information about sustainable seafood choices to the general public, fishermen, wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs, chefs and wait staff. Our Seafood Savvy program will strive to educate and motivate people to consume seafood that is:

  1. From sustainable fish populations
  2. Caught or farmed in a sustainable manner

What You Can Do

Consumers:

  • Use and share the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Pocket Guide or download their smartphone app
  • Support restaurants and markets that offer ocean friendly sustainable seafood
  • Encourage your favorite restaurant to make the switch to sustainable seafood
  • Educate yourself about seafood choices that are plentiful and sustainable
  • Make informed choices when you buy seafood and ask where it comes from
  • Experiment with your seafood selections. An ocean friendly species may taste better than what you’re used to eating!
  • Support our economy by buying locally caught or farmed sustainable seafood
  • Encourage your friends and family to join you in making ocean friendly choices
  • You CAN make a difference! Consumers recently helped protect swordfish in the North Atlantic from being overfished
  • Join your local Seafood Savvy Coalition

Markets & Retailers:

  • Use Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Culinary Chart of Alternatives and Buyer’s Guide to help you choose which sustainable seafood to offer
  • Support suppliers that have committed to sell sustainable seafood
  • Encourage your distributors to make the switch to ocean friendly seafood
  • Purchase seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • Put up posters and displays that will educate your customers about the importance of choosing sustainable seafood
  • Distribute the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide to your customers
  • Advertise that you are doing the right thing by going ocean friendly
  • Support our economy by buying locally caught or farmed sustainable seafood
  • You CAN make a difference! You are on the front line of ocean protection and conservation
  • Become one of Seafood Savvy’s sustainable seafood partners

Restaurant Owners & Chefs:

  • Use Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Culinary Chart of Alternatives and Buyer’s Guide to help you select which sustainable seafood to offer your customers
  • Support suppliers that have committed to sell sustainable seafood
  • Encourage your current distributors to make the switch to ocean friendly seafood
  • Purchase seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • Diversify your menu by offering customers new, delicious, ocean friendly choices
  • Train your wait staff to promote sustainable seafood and answer your customers questions
  • Advertise that you are doing the right thing by going ocean friendly
  • Support our economy by buying locally caught or farmed sustainable seafood
  • You CAN make a difference! You can ensure that there will be “fish for the future”
  • Become one of Seafood Savvy’s sustainable seafood restaurant partners

Distributors & Wholesalers:

  • Use Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Buyer’s Guide to help you choose which sustainable seafood to sell
  • Promote ocean friendly alternatives
  • Procure seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • Support our economy by buying locally caught or farmed sustainable seafood
  • Educate restaurant owners and chefs about the importance of sustainable seafood and why they should avoid overfished, slow-growing species
  • Advertise that you are doing the right thing by going ocean friendly
  • You CAN make a difference! You are on the front line of ocean protection and conservation
  • Become one of Seafood Savvy’s sustainable seafood partners

To learn more about Seafood Savvy and the sustainable seafood concept, click on the following links:

Questions: Call START’s Seafood Savvy phone line 888-757-8278