Did you know that the choices you make at the fish counter affect our planet’s health?
Just imagine if all the shoppers at your grocery store chose only one species of fish or seafood… What would the fishmonger start ordering from suppliers? Only that one species, to avoid losses. Fishing boats would start looking for only the most popular species, increasing the pressure on that population, threatening its survival and unbalancing the ecosystem.
There are two simple things you can do: buy different kinds of fish and look for “sustainable seafood” or “responsible aquaculture” labels. Then, take it one step further, and ask your fishmonger some questions to help you make the right choices:
Was the species caught or raised in Eastern Canada?
Legislation protects different species and their habitats by establishing standards and quotas for Canadian fishers, although some other countries don’t follow suit. Product traceability is important, in order to know where your fish came from. Also, buying locally helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Two good reasons to buy a species from Eastern Canada.
If it’s a wild species, is it at risk?
Constant fishing pressure on a threatened species hinders its recovery and jeopardizes the balance in its ecosystems.
Does the fishing method harm the habitat?
Avoid species caught by fishing vessels that drag across or disturb the ocean floor.
Does the method result in lots of bycatches?
Some fishing vessels take other species in addition to their regular catch, even if they won’t be consumed. This can lead to a decline in those populations.
For farmed species, is a sustainable method used?
Just like commercial fisheries, aquaculture is regulated and enormous progress has been made in this regard. Even so, nothing is black and white when it comes to closed containment or ocean-based fish farms, where many different factors come into play. It’s best to choose a local species and one that is fed at least partly on plant protein, rather than an exotic one. Because research is advancing so quickly in this area, the best way to keep helping our planet is to stay up to date.
You have the power!
Remember that you can change the world when shopping for groceries. Keep abreast of the latest news to help you make the right choices. And talk to your fishmonger: he’ll ask his suppliers for what shoppers want… for the good of our planet!