World Oceans Day is a celebration of our ocean and everything it provides us. And what’s a celebration without good food? Seafood is a major ocean resource that over 800 million people around the world rely on for protein—and another 60 million rely on it for their livelihoods.
Unfortunately, the commercial seafood industry is one of our ocean’s greatest threats. From above, it may seem like there are plenty of fish in the sea, but dive beneath the surface and it's a different story. Overfishing, lack of effective management and bycatch of struggling species like sharks, turtles and whales are just a few factors contributing to a decline in some wild fish populations and marine life. Half of our seafood today is farmed— also known as aquaculture—, which can have issues with pollution, chemical use and disease when not done responsibly.
Thankfully, the seafood industry is improving, in part because consumers are demanding change. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean and they started their Seafood Watch program to help consumers and businesses make better seafood choices for a healthy ocean. Their team of scientists assess the environmental impact of fisheries and fish farms to create seafood recommendations using a red-yellow-green traffic light system. Since 1999, the Seafood Watch program has distributed over 60 million consumer guides and their free app has been downloaded over two million times.
For World Oceans Day, Seafood Watch encouraged more than 500 businesses and conservation partners to talk about their commitment to sustainable seafood online and to promote a green “Best Choice” seafood dish. Green “Best Choice” rated seafood is fish that is abundant, well managed and caught or farmed in ways that have minimum impact on our environment.
Sustainable Seafood Sales the Seas on Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions is a cruise line partner that work with the Seafood Watch program to inform their purchasing decision. On June 8th, five of their ships in Alaska, the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti highlighted green Best Choice World Oceans Day dishes to their guests.
Chefs, Restaurants and Seafood Businesses Cook Up Seafood worth Celebrating
Not only did restaurants participate by highlighting a special World Oceans Day dish and posting to social media, but many went above and beyond with special World Oceans Day events. Our Seafood Watch Engagement Coordinator, Peter Adame, spent the day at a pop-up event at Temescal Brewing with San Francisco based partner Fresh Catch, featuring fresh seafood from local bay-area fishermen and farmers.
Aquariums & Zoos Feed Knowledge to the Masses
Seafood Watch is lucky enough to have over 150 zoo and aquarium partners spreading sustainable seafood messaging to their audiences. Denver Zoo, Pittsburg Zoo, California Academy of Sciences and others worked with their in-house cafeterias and restaurants to highlight a “Best Choice” dish while others shared the importance of sustainable seafood during their animal feeding shows.
You can make better seafood choices every day by downloading the free Seafood Watch app or visiting SeafoodWatch.org.