Food has been a big issue around my house this week. Besides rethinking how we eat, I've been thinking more about what we eat. We try to make healthy food choices, and that includes eating seafood at least once a week, but I feel a slight, nagging sense of guilt for buying fish. The health of our oceans and the fish population is a global concern and I wonder if we should stop eating fish altogether. It's a tough thing to even consider.
What isn't hard to understand is the state of the world's oceans. Overfishing is not only a threat to marine life, but also to the livelihood of 200 million people around the world. According to the latest report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 70% of the world's fish species are exploited or depleted. To make matters worse, destructive fishing techniques are harming marine mammals and destroying ecosystems. The statistics seem grim, but we can do something to reverse the tide.
One very easy, but important thing we can do is be more knowledgeable about sustainable seafood. Seafood Watch, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's program to help consumers and businesses make good choices, has a guide to seafood in your area. It's also important to buy from markets that offer sustainable seafood. If it's not clear, don't be shy about asking where the fish comes from and how it was caught. There are even phone apps to help you look up information up no matter where you are.
You can become involved in other ways by visiting the websites of organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium or Oceana to find out how you can help. National Geographic covers ocean issues extensively. World renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle recently talked with NG Kids and tells us why ocean conservation matters and how kids can get involved.
If you are lucky enough to spend time at the beach this summer, you get a clear reminder of how vital it is to keep our oceans healthy for generations to come.