The New Sustainable Seafood Movement



Kelley Jordan Photography

For a generation, Americans have demanded sustainable seafood procedures that preserve marine ecosystems. Eco-labels have sprung up on supermarket packaging, and restaurant and grocery chains are making sure that the fish they serve is ecologically friendly. But in the last few years, the world of seafood has crossed a new frontier. There’s a new movement afoot that takes a cue from America’s small-boat fishing fleets to recast the concept.

         After decades of understanding sustainable seafood as an abstract, ecological ideal, consumers are now turning to the fishermen and fishing communities that are intimately tied to the fisheries themselves and depend on healthy fish populations for their own sustainability. There are three pillars to this new sustainable seafood movement.

         First, knowing the fishermen is just as important as knowing the fish. Consumers have made past fish choices based on eco-labels that don’t always take into account the social and community dimensions of a fishery. There are too many that have great environmental credentials, but poor track records of their treatment of workers or their benefit to the communities where they harvest the fish. There are some large factory boats that harvest fish in an ecologically sustainable manner while also enslaving workers. 

         Second, America’s small-scale, community-based fishermen are the best stewards of our fishery resources. Buying from them does more to ensure that we have good fish on our plates in the future than just about anything else a consumer a can do. These entrepreneurs fish for the future, so they can hand their independent operations down to their children and their grandchildren. They do it because they are invested in the long-term success of their communities that have historically depended on fish.

         Third, “Who fishes matters!” is a slogan of the North Atlantic Marine Alliance (NamaNet.org) that serves as a clarion call for the new sustainable seafood movement. Both NAMA and Local Catch (LocalCatch.org) provide good boat-to-fork information to help consumers do their research. Those that enjoy dining on fish should know who caught their fish and what type of gear they use; what kind of operation the fisherman runs, such as independent or industrial, and where and how that fisherman lands their fish. Having answers to these questions will produce the bright future that many see for the sustainable seafood movement in the decades to come.

Marsh Skeele and Nicolaas Mink are the co-founders of Sitka Salmon Shares, a company of 15 community-based fishermen/owners that harvest, process and sell their own catch directly to consumers and chefs in the Midwest. For more information, visit SitkaSalmonShares.com.

To learn more about sustainable seafood from Mink and other experts, attend the Good Food Festival, Mar. 18, for the discussion Sustainable Seafood: What’s It All About? Find registration and more information at GoodFoodFestivals.com.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Spring Salad Bowls from Prairie Wind Family Farm

Jen Miller says, “In my farm kitchen, spring is a time to clean the refrigerator in preparation for plenty of spring vegetables.

Spring is Asparagus Season

"I am very excited for warmer days and the hint of spring as April rolls in. But beyond warmer and longer days, it means spring produce is here!” says Janie Maxwell, of the Illinois Farmers Market Association.

Rustic Saffron and Potato Soup Recipe

This delicious staple of Indian cuisine also has a distinguished aroma, and research indicates that it helps ease mild depression and promotes healthy sleep.

FamilyFarmed Launches

Good Food is Good Medicine is a new FamilyFarmed program that reflects the organization’s vision of “good food on every table” because they know good food is a key ingredient for a healthy and fulfilling life.

Minestrone Soup

"One of the first recipes I made for a crowd was minestrone soup from the More with Less Cookbook,” says Janie Maxwell. “I still look at recipes for minestrone soup to be inspired and see what others add."

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Functional Medicine Psychiatry Seminar at Clear Path Wellness

Laurie Goldman, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist for more than 20 years, has expanded her practice to now include Clear Path Wellness (CPW), where the focus is on whole body treatment and health management.

Centennial Volunteers Restoring Kickapoo Woods

The Centennial Volunteers is an inspiring movement of volunteers restoring nine special sites along the Chicago and Calumet rivers. Volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 25, at Kickapoo Woods, in Riverdale, to restore wet prairie and savanna.

Coconut Oil

One of the best ways to fight winter dryness is shampooing less often or washing with conditioner only. This method helps hair from being stripped of its nutrients. For dry, itchy, scalp, apply a small amount of a light oil prior to blowing dry, or even when air drying.

Recipe: Salsa Mexicana

Chef extraordinaire Rick Bayless states,“Salsa Mexicana is extremely versatile; in addition to making a great dip, try it with eggs for a killer breakfast taco, or fold it into guacamole...

Inner Child Connections Resolves Emotional Issues

When we ignore our subconscious mind, we’re not able to find peace and resolution in our life. This statement is the basis for the emotional healing that Funda Kahn facilitates at Inner Child Connections, in Northbrook.

Brain SPECT Imaging

A number of complex neuropsychiatric disorders are difficult to treat. There are two main reasons for this. First is the frequent presence of coexisting conditions, which in turn generate multiple signs and symptoms.