kelp, Sustainability & The Florida Aquarium
Many people think they know sustainability or at least know that they like the idea of it. But what is “sustainability” really?
In the United
States, the issue is that there is not a clear-cut definition for
sustainable food. To keep it simple, sustainable food is basically
that which is healthy for us, our communities, and our environment.
To break it down a little further, sustainable food is healthy for
humans and animals to consume, is produced in a way that is humane to
humans and animals, and it does not harm the environment. This means
a tomato that was grown in a way that is good for the soil (without
toxic pesticides), was good to the worker who picked it (he received
fair wages), and to the person who chopped it up in their family’s
salad (healthy and nutritious, without toxins).
How is certain fish sustainable? Sustainable fishing means not fishing endangered varieties, the accepted species are fished in a responsible manner, and they are fished by workers who are paid and treated fairly.
FACTS ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FISHING
67% of seafood we eat is consumed within restaurant walls and almost
76% of the world’s fish populations are over-fished or fully fished
out. It’s appearing as though the ocean may not be able to keep up
with mankind’s love of seafood.
Other issues are the “bycatch”, which is when other unintended sea life such as sea birds or marine mammals are caught with the fish. These concerns are at the forefront of the minds of those who support sustainable seafood.
However, there are organizations who are standing up and doing something about this major environmental issue.
THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM SEAFOOD NOW PROGRAM
The Seafood Now
program is dedicated to educating and advising individuals and
companies about making sustainable seafood choices. Consumers can
turn to the Seafood Now program to learn about which fish are best
for purchase or consumption at the markets or in restaurants.
Gaining that knowledge means they can make educated decisions to help
keep certain populations from being overfished or make choices that
promote responsible fishing practices.
Restaurants can become partners in the Seafood Now program to show their support of sustainable seafood practices. There are different levels of partnerships: Gold means the restaurant will acknowledge which fish on their menu are “Ocean Friendly” by being either on the green “Best Choices” list or on the yellow “Good Alternatives” list so that their customers can make the best decisions. Platinum partners take it a step further, going beyond just promoting the green and yellow list choices to simply not serving ANY fish on the red “Avoid” list.
The green, yellow, and red lists can be found on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website on which all restaurant partners will be featured.
KELP Sushi Joint has pledged to become a Platinum partner, swearing off all seafood choices that are on the red “Avoid” list and promising to only serve sustainable, responsibly fished choices.
We are quickly depleting our main fisheries and estimate that the world could lose wild seafood as a food source in the next 40 years if we don’t do something to stop it. Restaurants and consumers can dictate what the large fisheries do if we only consume what’s responsible and sustainable. KELP wants to make sure that doesn’t happen and we hope you join us in the cause to keep seafood sustainable…and around for centuries to come.