It’s no surprise that fishing is a favorite past time for many avid boaters. One of the best reasons to get up early in the morning is to take the boat out and catch the night’s dinner. Gathering around the table with your family to share a meal that you caught yourself, after patiently waiting and enjoying the Great Outdoors for a few hours, is one of life’s simple pleasures.
Of course, not everyone who throws a line into the water brings home dinner. Fortunately, you can always stop by a local fish market on the way home.
But before you cast out or place your next seafood order, stop and think about what effect your fish dinner could be having on the environment and aquatic wildlife.
It’s difficult to imagine, but there is not a limitless supply of fish in the Earth’s oceans, seas, rivers and lakes. As technology has helped us become better fishermen, we’ve begun to take a large percentage of wildlife out of the water. In addition to overfishing, we can also damage the habitats with certain fishing techniques, including bottom trawling and dredging.
To practice more eco-friendly fishing, learn about the invasive or overpopulated species in the waterways in which you fish. Make sure you throw back anything else you reel in. It’s also a good idea to invest in recycle your fishing line.tackle – which means 100% lead-free tackle – and
In addition to being a more eco-friendly fishermen yourself, it’s also important to encourage green commercial fishing by only purchasing. Remember that just because it’s on the menu or for sale in the market, doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. Many corporations and small fishing companies are still more concerned with making a profit than protecting our aquatic wildlife and habitats. It’s up to you to become a better informed consumer.
Here are a few pointers about which seafood to choose and which to avoid:
Best Choices for Sustainable Seafood
- U.S. farmed abalone (known as awabi in sushi)
- Albacore tuna from the U.S., Canadian Pacific, Hawaii or Atlantic
- Alaska wild salmon
- Farmed oysters and mussels
- Farmed or wild striped bass
- Dungeness crab (Blue crab is also a good alternative)
- Mahi Mahi from the U.S.
- Pacific or Alaskan halibut
- Farmed tilapia
- King crab imported from outside the U.S. (Alaskan king crab is a better alternative.)
- Atlantic halibut
- Chilean Seabass
To make the best decisions about whether the seafood you’re purchasing (and eating) was caught using sustainable fishing techniques, you need to know more about where the animal came from and how it was captured. If in doubt, ask.
For a complete list of sustainable seafoods and downloadable pocket guide to help you make eco-friendly purchasing decisions, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch web site. Visit your state’s conservation web site for detailed information on local regulations and restrictions.
Working together, we can enjoy and protect our waterways.