Fish and Seafood

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Ask about restaurant seafood

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Ask about restaurant seafood to find out if it is sustainably harvested or raised. Help create a conversation between restaurants and their patrons that benefits the ocean ecosystem that your seafood comes from.

How to ask about restaurant seafood

  1. Go to Chef's Collaborative; listed are restaurants that have chosen to offer sustainable fare. Another good site to look at is the restaurants section of the Seafood Choices Alliance website.
  2. Educate yourself. Find out which seafood sources have sustainable populations, and eat those species while avoiding depleted ones. For instance, you can get on-the-go advice with the Environmental Defense Seafood Selector To-Go! Or, type "tuna" into the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, and find out where sustainably-fished tuna populations are located. Print out their guide and take it with you to the store or restaurant. Other good sites to check include the John G. Shedd Aquarium's Right Bite, the Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood, the Green Guide's Fish Picks, the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector and the Seafood Choices Alliance seafood finder.
  3. Bring your seafood guide to the restaurant with you, and reference it for good choices and fish you should avoid.
  4. Ask your local seafood restaurant if their source fisheries are sustainable and use environmentally-friendly practices. Find out what fishery their seafood is from, and how it is caught or produced (line-caught, netted, trawled, organically-farmed, etc.).
  5. Spread the word about good seafood choices to friends, relatives, fellow diners, and restaurant owners. Give them a copy of the Seafood Watch guide. Restaurants can play an especially important role in educating the public about sustainable seafood.
  6. If the fish is farm-raised, ensure that it is vegetarian-fed. This will result in lower toxin levels in the fish you eat, and will also ease fishing pressure on species used in fishmeal.

Asking your restaurant about seafood on the menu helps you go green because...

  • It creates awareness and demand for sustainably fished seafood.
  • It has the potential to benefit ocean ecosystems by preserving biodiversity and habitat.
  • It promotes seafood sustainability within the restaurant community.

Restaurant owners and chefs play a large part in the purchase and selling of seafood. In terms of value, nearly 67 percent of all seafood in the United States is sold through restaurants.[1] This allows for a potentially large impact as more customers demand sustainable seafood. With more than 75 percent of the world's fisheries either fully fished or over-fished, purchasing power can drive the seafood marketplace, and promote environmentally friendly fisheries and aquaculture operations.[2]

A 2006 article published in the Journal of Science predicted a collapse (a loss of 90 percent) of most current commercial seafood stocks by 2050 if sustainability is not addressed.[3]

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