By CSULB Senior Seminar Reporter Cole Hughey | It’s not every day you get to eat fresh seafood caught along the coast. In fact, unless you caught it yourself, chances are, you’ve never eaten fresh seafood caught off the California coast.
That’s because 91 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from other countries, due to the dangerously low amounts of seafood in American waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The seafood-trading deficit is an astonishing $10.4 billion per year—second only to oil. If we don’t learn to collectively start varying our seafood choices, the chances of our favorite fish staying abundant are getting bleaker by the day, say advocates.
Seafood for the Future (SFF), a non-profit seafood advisory program based out of Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, has made it their goal to promote healthy and responsible seafood choices so that we can continue to enjoy it for generations to come.
Locally, SFF has partnered with many coastal restaurants, including Gladstone’s Long Beach, Parkers’ Lighthouse, Bluewater Grill and Market Broiler, to bolster seafood options that are sustainable and currently in season and to help promote the healthy eating choices that contribute to the preservation of a healthy ecosystem.
SFF evaluates their partner restaurants’ menus quarterly, and they also require copies of the restaurants recent invoices to improve transparency and accountability.
“We need the consumer’s help,” says Kim Thompson, program manager of Seafood for the Future. “Ask the question: Is this sustainable and where did it come from?”
Sustainable seafood comes from sources, whether it be wild or farmed, that are healthy for the planet. It is produced without the fear of spoiling the species’ long-term sustainability, the environment or the communities whose general prosperity depends on such production.
Salmon, for example, one of the most popular dinnertime choices, is severely overfished and can also require up to 3 pounds of fish-based feed to put on a pound of meat. Compare this to Barramundi, known as the sustainable sea bass, which needs only a half-pound—of vegetarian feed.
While seafood favorites like salmon, tilapia, and sea bass can be oh-so-appealing to fish-lovers looking at the menu, advocates encourage consumers to try a sustainable fish instead. You may be surprised what you like, they say.
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