Sustainable Seafood and You

Sustainable Seafood and You

Why is sustainably harvested seafood is simply better; better tasting, better for you and better for the environment?

In a nutshell, sustainable seafood is seafood that’s managed and harvested in a manner that ensures that there will always be more to catch in the future. This means fishing responsibly so that enough fish are left in the sea to replenish the population naturally. It also means adhering to fishing principles that are not harmful to fish, other marine plants and animals, as well as the environment. The simple logic of this is that sustainable fishing enables us to enjoy the pleasures and benefits of quality seafood in a responsible way that protects our natural environment and protects this natural food source for generations to come.

But it isn’t enough to implement laws to make this happen. The responsibility to ensure that we aren’t blindly plundering the oceans and denying future generations of this vital food source doesn't stop with governments and fisheries. Everyone from seafood distributors, restaurant chefs, supermarkets and other retailers, shoppers and diners—in other words, every single one of us—has a part to play in making sustainable seafood the only kind of seafood that gets put on dinner tables everywhere. By insisting on only buying and eating sustainable seafood we can influence market forces and raise awareness of the importance of making responsible seafood choices.

One of the strongest arguments for making sustainable seafood part of your life is the health benefits. Seafood contains the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that are so important to cardiovascular and brain health. Plant-derived omega-3s generally contain alpha-linolenic acids (ALAs) most of which our bodies burn for energy. Only a tiny amount less than 1 per cent is converted to EPA and an even smaller trace amount of this EPA is converted to DHA.

Fatty fish and fish oil are the richest sources of EPA and DHA. Eating fatty fish regularly lowers the likelihood of heart disease, reduces the chance of sudden death casued by uncontrolled rapid heart rhythms, improves the function of your arteries, decreases the chance of stroke and reduces inflammation. Mothers who eat fish regularly while they are pregnant and nursing ensure that their babies have enough DHA for healthy brain and eye development. Later in life, omega-3s lower the chance of developing age-related loss of vision due to retinal damage. It can also help with cateracts, dry eye, glaucoma and other visual disorders. Omega-3s from seafood aid brain function, improving brain cell repair and regeneration, lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. They also lessen the symptoms of childhood allergies and ease the symptoms of some inflammatory consditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and digestive disorders. Furthermore, higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the chance of developing diabetes and can help lower blood pressure.

Wild, line-caught fish caught in cold water environments offer the highest levels of omega-3s but boast lower levels of total fat than farmed varieties and don’t contain antibiotics. Choosing fish sustainably harvested from a naturally clean environment protected from industrial activities and pollution delivers the best health benefits as well as superior flavour. This is why the world’s top chefs choose to feature wild, line-caught fish on their menus and why the same fish are highly prized among gourmets.

The value of sustainable seafood is thus threefold. It’s delicious, it’s good for you, and it’s good for the environment. And if more of us commit to only eating sustainable seafood, we’ll ensure that this fabulous food source continues to keep nourishing our future generations.