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What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainability is all about meeting the needs we have today without compromising the ability of our future generations to meet their needs. Essentially, UCLA notes, we want to create thriving communities and practices that will be available for our generation and those in the future because resources are finite and must be conserved wisely.

Sustainable seafood, which may also be called environmentally responsible seafood, includes farmed and wild seafood species that have been caught or farmed sustainably. Very simply, seafood is being farmed or harvested in a way that will allow it to continue in the future, ensuring that seafood continues to be available for future generations who will depend on it as a protein source.

How Does U.S. Seafood Measure Up?

According to NOAA.gov, the United States is recognized globally as a leader in sustainable seafood. Laws regulate the way seafood must be caught, and U.S. law requires that seafood has to be caught according to science-based fishery management plans that:

  • Identity and conserve important fish habitats
  • Consider the economic and social outcomes in fishing communities
  • Rebuild depleted fish stocks
  • Prevent overfishing
  • Minimize interactions and bycatch with species that are protected

By following these rules and regulations, fish populations can provide for today’s population’s needs while ensuring that species can reproduce and be available to humans in the future, too.

Benefits of Sustainable Seafood

Why is sustainable seafood so important? How can choosing sustainable fishing practices help benefit people and our environment? Saving the ocean and preserving seafood for future generations offers many essential benefits.

  • #1 – Restoring Seafood Abundance for Growing Populations – One of the key benefits of sustainable seafood is ensuring that we continue to have a very healthy protein source as the world’s population continues to grow. Millions already live in hunger, and the world’s population is projected to continue growing. When we manage fishers sustainably and work to restore seafood abundance, we’ll be able to better feed people today and in the future.
  • #2 – Address Micronutrient Voids in Developing Countries – Micronutrient deficiencies continue to be a problem in developing countries, even when they have plenty of fish. That’s because many countries export their catch (often to be turned into fishmeal and fed to farmed salmon and other carnivorous farmed fish), and locals don’t get the health benefits of fish-derived nutrients. Choosing sustainable seafood practices also helps give more people access to the benefits of eating seafood.
  • #3 – Lower Carbon Footprint Compared to Land-Based Animal Proteins – Sustainable seafood also helps the environment. It has a lower carbon footprint than land-based animal proteins like pork or beef. As concerns over climate change continue to grow, turning to sustainable seafood offers another positive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save our planet.
  • #4 – Offers Jobs to Millions – Sustainable seafood offers jobs to millions of people around the world, too. Forbes estimates that in small island nations, between 10-50% of their GDPs are likely derived from capture fisheries.

Common Sustainable Seafood FAQs Answered

To help you learn even more about sustainable seafood, we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions and answers.

FAQ #1 – Is farmed seafood sustainable?

This depends on the type of species farmed and how it’s being farmed. According to Ocean.org, sometimes farmed seafood may be a better option than the wild counterpart, such as in the case of scallops, mussels, oysters, and clams.

FAQ #2 – Will I pay more for sustainable seafood?

This depends. In some cases, you may already be purchasing sustainable seafood without knowing it. Many under-utilized species like sardines and mussels are relatively inexpensive. And remember, responsible harvesting and fishing practices result in higher quality seafood products, even if they do end up costing a bit more.

FAQ #3 – How do I know which seafood items are great choices or good alternatives in my area?

You can get SeafoodWatch’s sustainable seafood guides for all 50 states, so you’re armed with the information you need to make good choices where you live or where you travel.

FAQ #4 – How can I make a difference?

Be aware of what you’re eating and make sure you’re buying sustainable products. Eat smaller fish, since they usually reproduce more quickly and in larger numbers, which makes them far more resilient to fishing pressure. Whenever possible, purchase seafood locally, since it often comes from more sustainable, smaller fisheries and also has a lower carbon footprint since it’s not being shipped long distance. Just make sure you ask about how the fish is caught or farmed before making your purchase.

Shop Tai Foong USA for Sustainable Seafood

As a leading supplier of seafood in North America, Tai Foong USA is committed to sustainability and providing high-quality, natural seafood to our customers. We support sustainable fisheries and ensure all our seafood is certified sustainable and socially and responsibly sourced. Shop our Wild Baja seafood selection for sustainable, ethically sourced seafood from local fishers in Baja California Sur, Mexico. 

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