Fish as Food
More than a billion people–largely in developing countries–rely on fish as their primary source for animal protein. That’s a lot of fish tied to human health and well being.
In this Fish as Food issue, we describe topics as they relate to fish as a vital nutrient or as a healthy dish to occasionally savor. Sustainable Seafood Choices provides practical, hands-on guidelines to eating wild-caught fish. This information will help you become a more conscientious consumer who keeps healthy oceans in mind.
Is there enough fish for everyone? We talk about that in Overfishing — one of the global challenges to finding a balance between ocean and human health. Another issue related to commercial fishing is Bycatch, the unintentional catch of other species. Aquaculture is a viable, growing industry that provides additional fish for our growing demand. But there are real concerns about many of these farm-raised fish.
In our Advice for Medical Professionals you’ll find easy to understand information about the risks and benefits of eating seafood. And there are simple guidelines and tutorials to understand Mercury in Seafood, too. Check out Seafood Fraud to learn about seafood being sold under false names.
Aquaculture — Farmed Seafood
Aquaculture—fish farming—produces an estimated 55 million metric tons of fish annually, worth $106 billion. For comparison, commercial fishing hauls in 90 million metric tons of wild-caught fish annually. Aquaculture is a large and growing industry, and has the potential to take pressure off depleted wild fish populations, while providing food and nutrients to millions of
Bycatch refers to the unwanted sea life people catch when they’re fishing for something else. Bycatch wastes 7 million metric tonnes of sea life every year. The vast majority of bycatch—already dead when it hits the deck— is just discarded. Killing hundreds of thousands of juvenile fish not big enough for legal take can undermine
Fish sold as red snapper, wild salmon, and Atlantic cod are commonly mislabeled. A Boston Globe study of over a hundred Boston-area seafood restaurants found that 48 percent of the fish was mislabeled. When asked about the discrepancies, some restaurant owners shrugged saying that everyone does it. The most common kinds of fraud are mislabeling
Mercury in Seafood
And we care about mercury because…? Because if you’re eating seafood, it’s got mercury. And because mercury poisoning is rare, but the risks are real. And mainly because if you understand the risks—you don’t have to worry.
Overfishing—taking fish and other sea creatures from the ocean faster than they can reproduce—has caused more change to the world’s oceans than any other single factor so far. From fish to whales, fishing has depleted many populations of ocean animals. Some have collapsed to very low numbers. Some are no longer commercially viable. “How much
Sustainable Seafood Choices
Blue Ocean Institute’s sustainable seafood program helps consumers discover the connection between a healthy ocean, fishing, and seafood through our Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood, a comprehensive seafood analysis and ranking methodology.