Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sustainable Seafood 101

I'll admit it: I'm no seafood expert. Up until a few years ago, if seafood was offered in a restaurant (or brought to my house by a kind neighbour), I ate it. No questions asked. Now I know better. I know that by making conscious choices about what type of seafood I eat, I am ensuring that I can enjoy the fruits of the ocean for years to come.

I want to make ethical and sustainable choices when eating seafood and I understand the environmental and market implications if others recognize the importance of eating sustainably as well.

Lately, I find that my eyes glaze over and my conscience becomes overwhelmed by guilt when I am presented a menu: the ocean, in all its magnificence, offers so many options for dinner. How can I even begin to understand what to avoid religiously, what to eat now-and-again, and what to enjoy on a regular basis? On top of this, the categories of what is sustainable or not can vary again from season to season. Such a daunting and confusing task of figuring out my dinner's larger implications on the future of the oceans makes me reconsider even eating seafood in the first place.

But do not despair, fellow seafood lovers! There are others who have gone before us in the labyrinth of "Sustainability 101" and have prepared easy and innovative solutions to untangling the web of sustainable seafood. Our good friends at SeaChoice have developed "Canada's Seafood Guide", a handy, downloadable, and easy to use guide to eating sustainably. I downloaded it, slipped it into my wallet, and now have a handy reference for making my dinner choices. It is so easy to use: even if you are nearly blinded by a desire for a delicious dungeness crab, SeaChoice has color-coded the Alertcard in handy green, yellow, and red columns - making any seafood decision, no matter the circumstances, a piece of cake.

The SeaChoice website also has more season-specific information, as well as information about how to get businesses involved in ensuring the sustainability of our oceans. The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California also has a similar Seafood Watch program to help consumers make sustainable choices.

Learning how to eat seafood while conserving our oceans has never been so easy. Never again will I be intimidated into choosing salad over seafood: waiter, bring on the BC Sablefish!

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