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Fish and Seafood - Where do you stand?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Stefka, 10 Dec 2011.

  1. Stefka

    Stefka Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone,
    We touched the problems of overfishing in some threads and I thought it might be interesting to ask you, ZooChatters, what do you do in your everyday life to help reduce this problem?
    People here are very aware of various conservation issues and I would like to know, how does that knowledge affect your everyday routine, your shopping and your eating habits.
    Some sample questions:
    Do you eat fish and sea food?
    When buying a fish, do you ask about its origin? (Where was it caught, what fishing method was used)
    What do you thing is better – fish caught from the sea or fish from a farm?
    Are there fish or sea food species you would never eat and why?
    And most importantly – what are your tips? Do you know a company which produces sustainably caught fish and sea food? Do you know a restaurant serving only local and sustainably caught fish?

    Can´t wait to hear your opinions and ideas. ;)
     
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    I was trying not to eat tuna after learning at the Monterey Aquarium what marvelous creatures that they truly are. My wife bought a can of tuna recently and I fell off the wagon (please don't tell the tuna).

    You are asking some really good questions. I looked up whether Red Lobster, one of the large U.S. (and elsewhere?) sea food restaurant chains, has a sustainable sea food policy and apparently they do: Red Lobster’s Parent Company Launches Sustainability Website |

    I don't know how well their policy works in practice.
     
  3. Stefka

    Stefka Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link, David, this article alone would be worth discussing.
    And these chains are not alone, earlier this year McDonald´s got his fish sandwitches approved as sustainable. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/business/global/09fish.html?_r=1 (This article speaks only about Europe, I don´t know what policy they have in US or other countries.)
    Question is, how suistainable can it really be when they sell 100 million of these products every year, and that´s only in Europe. With this amount of fish, for how long can it really be sustainable?

    But putting these questions aside, I am really greatful that companies big and well known like these are doing this. I think it sends a message to "an average man", who would otherwise never think about that. It could be compared to "We only use free-range eggs" policy. If company like this do that, lots of people see it and it might affect their shopping habits later. (Choosing free range eggs over the ones from caged hens, because if McDonald´s is doing that, there must be something about it.)
    I am not a McDonald´s or Darden Restaurants customer, but I realize, how many people love these chains and I believe they might have a big influence on their regular customers.
    And it might also give a kick to their rival companies to introduce the sustainable policy as well.
     
  4. Mr T

    Mr T Well-Known Member

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    I no longer buy cod and always have hake if it is available at the chippy. I don't buy tuna anymore regardless of whether it is caught pole and line or not. I no longer buy salmon be it farmed or wild caught.

    I do however love fish and seafood and eat lots of tinned and fresh sardines and mackerel. I eat prawns but only those caught in the North Atlantic (No farmed prawns from Asia!) The fresh fish I buy in the supermarket always has its origin labelled and I always check the labels on the tins I buy.

    I would try most types of seafood providing it is sustainably caught and managed. I would not eat shark or turtle.

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. KEEPER

    KEEPER Well-Known Member

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    Good thread; For to eliminate wrong topics:

    Talking about the seafood and fishes: Just for to inform all the people that make tourism in Spain; the real and authentic paella NOT have any content of fish or seafood, it's only have chicken, rice (of course)and typical vegetables (a lot of green beans varieties) and maybe artichokes, but never fish/seafood.

    A lot of the crabs/ Shrimps or prawns in the "touristic" paella do not come from sustainable fisheries.

    Talking about myself now, I Try not buy any food when I'm not totally sure for its origin.

    I hate the farm fish (origin and flavour) I prefer not eat fish when the product it's only from sea farms, because the industrial aquaculture contaminate the environment.
     
  6. barisax235

    barisax235 Active Member

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  7. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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  8. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    No shrimp - most of it is farmed in a devastating manner (clearcutting coastal mangroves, not only in SE Asia, but now in the Amazon). Even wild caught shrimp is not great because it is done by bottom dredging which is destructive. In my monthly wild cat lecture at Reid Park Zoo, one of the five tips I give people for helping the environment is not eating shrimp. (I have a picture of shrimp farms in Thailand in former fishing cat habitat that I got from Jim Sanderson).

    I have the Monterey Bay seafood guide - I actually picked it up at Aquarium of the Pacific (and before that I got one of at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum of all places). Mainly I eat U.S. farmed catfish (which I think is safer than most other farmed fishes) and wild Alaskan salmon (which is actually better than farmed atlantic salmon). Or some kind of white fish if I am eating out. On the rare occasion I go to Red Lobster for lunch (their lunch menu is very inexpensive) I usually have rainbow trout.
     
  9. Stefka

    Stefka Well-Known Member

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    Wow, so many great answers, I applaud to all of you!
    I have some additional questions, if you don´t mind...

    Mr T - could you please give us more details on why do you no longer eat salmon, whether it is wild or farmed? Why not wild and why not farmed?

    Keeper - I really had no idea that traditional paella don´t have any fish or see food in it! I remember eating paella in Spain few years ago and it was full of shrimps and other staff. And I play the "Conquiztador" online game sometimes and I remeber that the correct answer on "What is in traditional spanish paella?" was "rice, vegetable, seafood..." Thanks for the info!

    barisax235 and Ituri - thanks for the links. I have one local leaflet, which was made by National SeaLife centre in cooperation with Irish Wildlife Trust, but is very brief and concerns only Irish Fisheries. The best choices acording to their leaflet is Mackeral, Mussels, Hake and Lobster.

    Arizona Docent - not being from US myself, I´ve never heard of catfish farming. I think you nicely touched the Farmed Versus Wild issue.

    So, Farmed Versus Wild - This is such a complicated issue and if it´s "ok to eat" varies with every species and every country. I think the issue is getting so controversial, that average man doesn´t know what to do in the shop. I am not talking about you, dear ZooChatters;), you all obviously do your research. But when it commes to "normal people", I would expect two reactions - 1. "I´ve heard about overfishg of the oceans, so lets buy the farmed fish, because that doesn´t affect the wild population." and 2. "Fish tastes the best when caught in the natural environment and there´s no way we could deplete the wild stock."

    I didn´t answer the opening questions myself, so here it is:
    I like to eat fish and sea food, but I eat it so rarely that I don´t even remember the last time I had a fish. (Probably some fresh water fish on my holidays in Czech republic.)
    I never eat tuna, no matter the origin.
    I only eat fish and sea food when dining out, local irish restaurants usually serve the local catch and I usually order Hake or Mussels in white sauce - my favourite. Why don´t I buy a fish in the shop and cook it myself? Oh well, that has noting to do with conservation, I am simply too lazy to learn how to prepare it, because I would be the only one eating it. And I don´t enjoy handling raw meat.

    I think one of the biggest problems is the reluctance of many people to think about the origin of their food. (If everybody cared and think about it, we would only have free range eggs and free range meat and that´s not gonna happen anytime soon)

    And there is another thing - if you do think about the origin of your food, you can easily end up not eating anything.
    Example - As I said, I don´t mind to eat a sustainably caught fish, which was caught by local fishermen on Irish coast. But then you open the newspapers and read this headline "Kerry Fishermen Want Seal Cull!" There are actually some fishemen, who are blaming wild seals for overfishing... And want them eradicated in some areas... I don´t wanna eat a fish caught by someone like that! I exaggerate here a bit, but you get the idea, it´s getting harder and harder to get a "guilt-free" fish. Especially when you´re trying to consider all aspects - method of fishing, status of the wild population, impact on the environment, animal welfare...

    Any thoughts on that? (Except the obvious fact that I am a little bit crazy? :D )
     
  10. Mr T

    Mr T Well-Known Member

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    I don't eat wild salmon becuase of the food miles (Most of it in my supermarket and local shops is Alaskan). If they had wild caught scottish salmon then I would probably eat it. I don't eat farmed salmon because it has a bad impact on the wild ones in Scotland. From what I have heard the farmed salmon have parasites which they are treated for but these parasites have got into the wild populations and they of course are not treated for the parasites.

    For all those who can and are interested it would be great of you could sign up to the 'big fish fight' if you haven't already.

    Hugh's Fish Fight - Half of all fish caught in the North Sea is thrown back overboard dead
     
  11. Stefka

    Stefka Well-Known Member

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    To Mr T - Sorry, my bad, I didn´t notice that you´re from Scotland. Thanks for the link, I signed it up.
     
  12. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

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    You are right - the average person cannot (or will not) take the time to look up the source of all the seafood (or any food) they buy. However, you can now look for the Sustainable Fishing symbol right on the package (I forget the official name). At least for prepackaged fish. Fresh may be more difficult.

    Getting restaurants and grocery stores to carry only sustainable makes things much easier for all. I remember reading something years ago that the concessioners for the U.S. National Parks switched to 100% sustainable seafood. Of course the real challenge is Asia, with shark fin soup and bluefin tuna (sushi). I am going to sound prejudice here, but from everything I read they just do not have the same animal welfare concerns that North America and Europe have (as a generalization - of course there are individuals there who care a lot and individuals here who could not care less).
     
  13. Stefka

    Stefka Well-Known Member

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    I don´t think you´re prejudiced, that is a simple fact. And even renowned naturalists and conservationists are not afraid to say so. (I remember reading an article about it, saying something like "further to east you go, the animal welfare is worst and worst.") China and Japan are brilliant examples of that. They seem not to understand, why do we care so much, what´s the point of that, often taking it as an attack on their culture...

    (But to be fair, if we were to go back in time, we would see that we weren´t much different... And we are still not shining examples for these countries. This would probably be for another thread, but just to ilustrate - we´re asking people from developing countries to live alongside dangerous predators peacefully, and at the same time, we´re not able to do it ourselfs. Even eagles are being poisoned by farmers in Ireland and only a handful of enthusiasts would support reintroduction of wolves and bears.)