Photo: New to sustainable seafood? So am I.

(Credit: Heidi Hudson)

By Glauce Fleury, Communications Intern
Have you ever thought about where the salmon — or any other seafood you eat — comes from? To be honest, I haven't, and I decided to change my behaviour to make a difference. I never was a big fan of seafood. However, sardines, salmon and other fish were often part of my diet when I didn't have to cook myself. (I'm such a bad cook!) After starting my internship at the David Suzuki Foundation, it didn't take me long to notice I had a lot to learn — not only about my job, but my food choices.

The only times I recall being careful about seafood was on my vacations, touring around the northeast of Brazil, my home country. In the popular offshore boat rides, passengers were offered prawns, shrimp and sometimes lobster for lunch. I know they were probably fresh, but I was unsure about how "clean" they were. Perhaps I was unconsciously thinking about where they came from. But at grocery stores and restaurants, I never asked. I always assumed their sources were reliable. Now I know better.

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A few days ago, I watched the documentary Salmon Confidential, which reveals that wild salmon tested positive for dangerous viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide. The film shows scientists telling what they found and alleges the federal government set off a chain of events to suppress the findings. True or not, the question is, "If we don't know where the food we eat comes from, how can we be sure it's safe for us, our families and the environment?"

In 2006 the Foundation co-created the SeaChoice project along with four other prominent Canadian environmental organizations. It invited people to learn how the various types of seafood got from the water to the table, and whether or not we should consume them. Now, it's our choice. If we choose to buy sustainable seafood, we'll be supporting solutions for healthier oceans, which directly affect the quality of our lives and future generations.

We all need to remember that sustainable seafood is fished or farmed in ways that don't harm the long-term survival of a fish species or damage the environment and don't put our health at risk. To help us make our choices, the Foundation, in collaboration with its SeaChoice partners and Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, developed a science-based ranking list showing which species are the best choices (green), which have some concerns (yellow) and which should be avoided (red).

The green choices are well-managed species that are present in great quantity. The yellow ones should be consumed only when the best choices are not available—they aren't so abundant or are not fished in sustainable ways. The red options should be avoided because they come from sources with critical problems, such as habitat damage and low populations. Our planet is finite and we all share its resources, so we must respect its limits.
Join David Suzuki and our Foundation in supporting sustainable seafood options by signing the pledge to eat for healthy oceans.

June 14, 2013

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