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How to Buy Sustainable Seafood the Right Way

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Eating sustainable seafood is about much more than signaling virtue to environmentalism. Prioritizing seafood sustainability is essential to our health, our place in the economy, and the fishing industry in totality. Fortunately, eating learning how to buy sustainable seafood is both great for our wallets as well as our health.

Today, we want to navigate the murky waters surrounding sustainable seafood so that our customers can better understand the importance of conscious shopping, ethical consumerism, and environmental accountability. Read on to find how to buy sustainable seafood the right way. 

Importance of Sustainable Seafood

When we discuss environmentalism and sustainability, what exactly are we discussing? Sustainable seafood is seafood that is caught, farmed, or otherwise acquired in a way to prioritize the long-term health of the harvested species. Based on fishing statistics, the total amount of wild fish caught has increased dramatically over time from roughly 1900 to the 1980’s due to overfishing, which is removing fish from the ocean faster than they can reproduce. According to a report filed by the Fisheries Economics of the United States, the seafood industry generated more than $212 billion in sales during 2016 alone.

As global demand for ethical and sustainable seafood continues to grow, it will be important for companies like Tai Foong USA to continue offering sustainable seafood products.

Let’s take a closer look at some key facts surrounding the sustainable seafood industry.

  1. Seafood Is a Low Carbon Food – When compared to traditional land-based animal protein sources like beef and pork, seafood fares considerably better in the carbon footprint department. Due to the impact that global climate change has had on the planet, the ability to source low-carbon protein sources can be hugely beneficial.
  2. Ideal Protein Source For Developing Nations – According to a report compiled and published by the team at Oceana, our oceans when properly cared for can support nutritious meals daily for almost 425 million people. In America alone, one in five children is struggling with hunger. This number is only exacerbated in less developed areas of the world. According to the World Wildlife Organization, nearly 3 billion people on the planet will rely on seafood as their main source of protein.
  3. Employees of the World – The International Labour Organization compiled several job reports to conclude that there are more than 260 million marine fishery jobs around the world. As one of the largest and oldest industries on the planet, supporting sustainable seafood also means supporting local workers near you.
  4. Good For Your Health – Whether we are discussing farm-raised or wild-caught seafood, the bounty of the ocean tends to be great for your health. Sustainably sourced fish tend to offer heart-healthy heaping of Omega-3 fatty acids, key minerals, and important vitamins. Avoid over farmed fish such as salmon or tuna as they often contain mercury and other similar contaminants.

What To Look For When Buying Sustainable Seafood

Making the decision to shop for sustainable seafood and quality nutrition can be a momentous one. However, the decision can also be challenging to everything we know and understand. Shopping for sustainability can be a consuming task, leaving you frazzled without any direction. Fortunately, we are here to provide some support and helpful tips on how to buy sustainable seafood.

In order to ensure your best shopping experience, consider the following tips when purchasing sustainable seafood.

  1. Fresh vs. Frozen – When looking for seafood, it is important to understand the true complexities behind the fresh vs. frozen debate. While fresh fish can be perceived to taste better than its frozen counterpart, frozen seafood is still one of the best, most sustainable ways to source delicious food from the ocean. Fish that have been caught and correspondingly frozen will offer the same great taste and nutrient profile as fresh alternatives at a significantly reduced price point.
  2. Fishing Method – The way that our seafood is captured can have a huge impact on the environment, the fish, and the experience that our meal offers. Hook and line fishing is sustainable whereas bottom trawling without turtle extruder devices (TED’s)  is considered much more destructive to the environment.
  3. Caught in North America – Companies like Tai Foong with our brand, Northern Chef, will work with sustainable fisheries throughout the United States and Mexico to prioritize better products for their clients. For shrimp, the best option is wild frozen shrimp. While American fisheries are far from the only source of seafood in the world, responsibly managed fisheries around the world score higher marks on environmentalism, cleanliness, and sustainability. For example, Northern Chef sources their Wild Baja Shrimp from small panga boats in Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
  4. Check Your Labels – The concept of sustainability is hard to grasp at the best of times, much less from the back of a product’s box. Make sure that you take time to read the label on your seafood as sustainability can seem quite convoluted at first. Utilize apps like Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch to assess product information before making a purchase. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified sustainable seafood makes sure fisheries are managed properly.

Becoming a responsible consumer can feel like an overwhelming task. With that being said, knowledge is power and sustainability is great for both environment and individual. To continue supporting sustainable seafood companies, utilize the tips highlighted above while patronizing pro-environmental companies like Tai Foong USA!

Enjoy Sustainable Seafood With Tai Foong USA!

Tai Foong USA was founded in 1958 to provide fresh frozen seafood and Asian cuisine to clients throughout North America and beyond. Since its launch, Tai Foong USA with the brands, Northern Chef and Royal Asia, has been committed to sustainability and high-quality, environmentally-friendly seafood products. Find Northern Chef and Royal Asia at your nearest grocery store or foodservice distributor!