The food industry as a whole loves its buzzwords. Go local! Eat organic! Buy sustainable! That's not to say that these aren't all worthwile or legitimate movements. Taking care of what we put in our bodies, or how we treat the precious natural resources our planet has to offer is no laughing matter. However, at the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that mega-store X or big-brand Y really have one thing in mind: that is, convincing you to spend more of your money on their products. Maximizing the bottom line. Corporate conscionce quickly evaporates when a product isn't moving off of shelves fast enough. Thus making it pretty difficult to navigate the waters of food industry buzzwords and discover what the underlying issues truly are.
Today we are going to talk a bit about sustainable food from oceans, waterways, and fish farms.
Sustainability at its truest sense strives to ensure that we humans do not exploit either our fished or farmed resources at a rate beyond that which it can maintain. As we've been taught a million times over, our planet is a fragile ecosystem with inter-dependent food chains. If we deplete any resource to dangerously low levels, it can be impossible to revive, and inevitably have wide-ranging negative effects on our planet. Organizations and more recently, the media, have raised the profile of overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods to the forefront. Making socially responsible eating a topic du jour—and rightly so!
According to research organizations, we are now fishing the last 10 per cent of all predatory large fish such as sharks, tunas and swordfish. For the average consumer it can be challenging to stay educated on what seafood is or isn't considered sustainable. For example, one may think that farmed fish would equate to an easily replenishable stock. However, the open fish pens tend to damage the ecosystem around them. Whereas closed, land-locked pens do not. A subtle difference that can make shopping for seafood without a guide or internet connection nearly impossible.
In general, staying educated on the topic is a challenge at best. When you also factor in that the person selling you the fish is interested in moving product to make a living, signage can be both misleading and sometimes altogether incorrect. I always take the view that the more I can do to choose sustainable seafood, the better. Even if at times I'm misled or misinformed, it's a step in the right direction. As a whole, we've squandered the ability to feed ourselves without taking some responsibility for the global impact of how we are choosing to nourish ourselves. We certainly owe it to future generations to ensure we are not bringing irreparable damage to our natural resources.
The David Suzuki Foundation has published their version of Canada's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks below. Certainly we can all occasionally take the time to educate ourselves on making wiser dining choices. Our kids will thank us.
Canada's Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks