Sustainable Seafood: How Our Food Choices Can Impact the Environment

If you’re like me, you have a curiosity toward food trends – and I’m not talking about whether pineapple on pizza is acceptable (that’s for another day). I’m talking about food trends when it comes to green living, sustainable seafood in particular. If you’re a follower of GreenEarth Cleaning, most likely you’re aware that there are many changes we can make in our own lives to better the environment. Saving energy, finding ways to re-use our resources, reducing waste – the list goes on and on. We can also make changes in the way we eat and doing so is actually pretty simple.

Organic Isn’t the Only Label You Should Pay Attention To

Yeah, adding the word “organic” before your carton of strawberries seems like the smart thing to do. While it’s definitely a good sign that your food was grown without growth hormones or possibly toxic substances, you need to focus equally on choosing locally grown organic foods. An item might be grown naturally but depending on where it shipped from, it could be coming to you from thousands of miles away. This is something known as food miles: the distance your food has traveled from the farm to the store.

According to ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, a typical meal travels 1,300 miles on average to get to our table. Transporting fruits and vegetables this way contributes heavily to pollution. 

What Can You Do?

So, where can you find an abundance of local, organic foods? The farmer’s market. You’ll be supporting farmers in your community, know exactly where your food came from thus reducing food miles, and most of the time the produce is cheaper because you cut out transportation costs. Local is always better!

How Stuff Works busts some of the myths for us.

The Need to Eat Sustainable Seafood

“Sustainable Seafood” seems like a buzzword phrase lately, but what does it actually mean, and is it really that important? According to Seafood Watch, approximately one-third of fish populations are overfished. Species like halibut and yellowtail flounder populations are at an all-time low with bluefin tuna at 4% of its original size. Illegal fishing practices are also depleting fish stocks and account for one-fifth of the world’s catch. To add more, fishing gear that drags across the seafloor, to trap large amounts of seafood, can severely damage the habitat for fish and other species.

So, that’s a lot of negatives. And, yes if we have any say as to where our seafood comes from, we need to reward ocean-friendly practices.

What Can You Do?

Seafood Watch has a downloadable guide to find good sustainable seafood options (and what to avoid) wherever you’re at. Look up your state and keep the guide in mind when you’re traveling too!

When out at a restaurant, a simple “do you know where this comes from?” can let you know if the fish you’re about to eat is wild or farmed. Lastly, at the grocery store, look for eco-certification labels on the seafood. Here’s a list of tips to keep in mind.