Factory farms are all over the media these days, and it’s easy to see why it’s bad for the environment and our health. Chickens cooped up in cages too small to turn around in, cows that are eating corn based diets when they are genetically supposed to be eating grass; if you look deep enough you’ll even learn about the way geese that produce foie gras are treated inhumanely.
I’m not sure, but I’m guessing you eat more fish and seafood than goose liver, but do you have any idea how they are harvested? And what can you do about it?
Our problem with seafood is quite large. Huge actually. If you didn’t know, the oceans are in a lot of trouble these days. Industrial fishing has depleted most of our ocean’s large predatory fish. Across the world, we remove tens of millions of seafood from the ocean each year. Because consumer demand for them is so high, many fish high on the food chain such as Pacific Red Snapper, shark, and swordfish are being caught before they are able to reproduce. This results in a drastic decrease in the populations of these species. In addition, our high tech industrial fishing methods have also caused severe habitat destruction, resulting in a greatly reduced sea population.
There are solutions to these problems, but they don’t come easy, and it’s not something that will happen overnight; in fact it will probably take decades. It starts with us. We have to wake up and take responsibility for our actions, and this means insisting on only sustainable seafood options. This is the only way our oceans can continue to harvest the amount of seafood we are used to consuming. This problem isn’t as well known as in other industries, so we have to do our research, ask questions, and make sure our purchases reflect our desire to keep our oceans healthy and plentiful.
Sustainable fish is either fished or farmed from sources that make it a goal to maintain and advance production without endangering the ecosystem in which it came from.
Most seafood eaten in the United States is eaten in restaurants. So part of the fight starts there with chefs and restaurant owners, but remember, we choose the restaurants we frequent. If restaurants don’t make it clear where their fish comes from ask. If they don’t know, choose places that do. If enough people voice their opinions about these things, restaurants will be forced to make better choices.
Do the same when purchasing seafood to cook at home. Shop at places that are responsible about their sourcing and let them know you care about this cause.
As in any industry, cheaper, more convenient options will always win unless we fight to change the system. Simply by making better choices now, you can ensure that we will always have seafood and fish available to us now and in the future.
What do you think about this issue? Did you even know it existed? Any thoughts are welcomed.