Encouraging Responsible Fishing Habits

For anybody who enjoys seafood, they should find this post interesting. How much do you think about the sea life on your plate, where it comes from and how it was caught?

One of the things the organization I work for was trying to accomplish when we were in Kenya was to help the local fishermen. The goal was simple: to ensure that the people who make their livelihood through fishing would be able to continue for years to come. Through education on sustainability and good governance, we helped coastal communities in the area create a better communication and regulatory system. The hope is that it will continue to be a consistent food source and income generator for generations to come. We weren’t able to solve every problem while we were there but it was good to give techniques and strategies that can be applied over time to bring good results. There were workshops and training sessions, and I left having met some great people and close friends.

My job is pretty awesome. I got to interact with people I would never have met in a beautiful country I might never have seen. It was an experience like none I have ever had before. I came home energized and determined to do something similar right here at home.

We too need to have responsible fishing habits. We need regulations to ensure clean waters for the fish to live. A pristine habitat will promote not just the health of the fish and other sea life, but those of the people who would be consuming the fish.

Another thing we need to be concerned about is our supply. We need to keep an eye on fish populations to make sure that we are not overfishing and depleting various species or destroying sources of food for other sea life. Once these creatures are gone, they’re gone. There’s no going back. That’s why many suppliers have aquatic farms. There, the population of fish or other sea creature can be strictly monitored and their environment controlled. The fish are essentially lab created through surgical extraction of egg and sperm. The fish are vaccinated against diseases and fed a strict diet in order to fatten them up. But you’ve also probably seen labels that say things like “wild caught” and maybe wondered what the difference is.

Salmon is a big one for the “wild caught” label. Farm-raised salmon are artificially colored pink, as they only achieve that color by eating krill (not part of their farm-fed diet). Artificial coloring isn’t typically something people want in their food, especially something that is supposed to be as good for you as fish. It also obviously costs a lot more to farm-raise fish than it does to catch them in the wild. Also, if you’d rather not have your fish wish a side of antibiotics, you’re better off with the “wild-caught” option. I prefer “wild caught” whenever possible, and encourage sustainability and good ecological habits. For the aquatic farms, I would like to see more oversight and regulations to be sure that the fishes’ diet is safe for the fish and for human consumption, that waste products from the farm are handled in an environmentally responsible manner, and that the fish don’t escape and damage the local ecosystem. Some people prefer the farm-raised because they are cheaper and available fresh year-round.