Similar to buying organic or fair-trade, buying ocean-friendly seafood is a choice that can make a difference today and tomorrow (especially when made en masse). The sustainable seafood definition of choice would be seafood that is environmentally friendly, is harvested with means that do not harm local habitats, and that is managed to preserve abundance and species health. Sustainable measures look like water closures, seasonal limitations, non-invasive crabbing pots, water ladders, and fishing quotas.
Specific to Alaska, fisheries are well-managed, wild-caught populations are healthy and thriving, and fishing gear is used that limits unwanted capture and minimizes the destruction of surrounding habitats.
As a consumer, you have power too. As discussed, the sustainable seafood definition if choice refers to how seafood species are farmed, caught, and managed. When going to your local grocery store, ask about where your fish is from and how it was raised. Perhaps they won’t know, but they will start to take note if enough people are asking. How about printing a shopping guide off-line and carrying it with you while you make your purchases? You may not remember off-hand, which species are ocean-friendly, but with a helpful printout, you are sure to recall. Haven’t tried something on the list? Venture outside of your known culinary realm and try an ocean-friendly newbie today. Then, buy responsibly and cook accordingly. Recipes using wild-caught or environmentally-responsibly farmed seafood are wide-ranging and sacrifice nothing in terms of flavor or quality. And fear not, with readily available options like wild-caught Pollock, your choice for the future of our seas, needn’t be a hit to the wallet.
Whether you serve your wild-caught Alaska cod poached in hard cider or baked with lemon caper white wine sauce, you can enjoy every bite knowing populations are well managed. Want a meatier fish? How about grilling ginger infused Alaska halibut, which has a firm texture and whose wild populations are healthy. Or Pan-poach your wild-caught Alaska halibut with a spicy piccata twist.
The sustainable seafood definition discussed here is simple: environmentally friendly practices matched with well-managed populations. Let sustainably be a guiding factor the next time you venture down the seafood aisle.