Photo: Day 11: If I ate fish, I'd eat sardines

Eat lower on the food chain and cook with sardines (Credit: Chotda via Flickr)

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Choices about what you eat can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around. Before reaching for your favorite comfort food this Thanksgiving, join the David Suzuki Foundation for our 11-day challenge, Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table. Starting Oct. 5th, you could win an awesome prize just by sharing your story on Facebook. Plus you'll get helpful eco-advice from me, the Queen of Green.

Answer the daily Facebook question by adding your comment. Don't have a comment to share? Check out the others and vote for your favourite. We're giving out fabulous prizes for the comment with the most "Likes".

The planet doesn't need another fad diet. But how much do you know about where your food comes and the type of impact it's having on the planet? What are you doing to eat more sustainably?

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

If I ate fish, I'd eat sardines.

Sardines have a very low SeafoodPrint, in part because they are typically caught without using a lot of fossil fuels. How can that be? Well, ever been snorkelling and swam near a school of fish? The schooling nature of sardines makes them easy to track and encircle, so less chasing around. Plus, catching fish that are grouped tightly together means that fewer unwanted species are caught as bycatch, unlike what we see with fisheries that use gill-netting or bottom trawling. And it gets better: small fish are inexpensive and are among the healthiest foods a person can eat (high in omega-3 fats and low in contaminants like mercury and PCBs).

If you're a fish eater, eat these gems guilt-free. Here are a few other tips for fish eaters:

Shop smarter

Choose sustainable seafood recommended by SeaChoice. Simply download Canada's Seafood Guide in its handy wallet-sized format. But before you get that "best choice" fish home, check out the amazing recipes in Jill Lambert's A Good Catch or watch and learn.

Avoid red-listed fishes

Commit these red-listed species to memory, then avoid them. Don't consume Chilean seabass, swordfish, orange roughy, bluefin tuna, and tiger prawns or tropical shrimp (no more shrimp rings at your next dinner party!).

Eat lower on the food chain

Small fish like sardines, anchovies, herring, and mackerels make up about 37 per cent of all fish coming out of the ocean. But, only about 10 to 25 per cent of those are directly consumed by humans. Who's eating the rest? Well, our pigs, cattle, farmed salmon, and chicken, of course. About 75 to 90 per cent are ground up into fish meal and oils for agricultural feed or are used as bait. It's a shame really, or even a "crime against nature" as Bottomfeeder author Taras Grescoe argues.

Ask grocery stores to make a change

This year, Greenpeace ranked eight of Canada's largest supermarket chains on seafood sustainability. Its report, Taking Stock, gave the first and only passing grade to the Overwaitea Food Group. Get your grocery store behind this sea of change and write a letter to store managers. Ask them to:

  • Improve the labelling on the seafood they sell. You have a right to know where it's from, how it was caught, and if it has any eco-certification.
  • Ask them to source only sustainable seafood options identified by programs like SeaChoice, Oceanwise, or the Marine Stewardship Council.
  • And ask them to stop selling red-listed seafood.

Tips for non-fish eaters:

Plan sustainable seafood-friendly events

When I planned my green wedding, a major sticking point was finding a venue that knew what I was talking about when I said I wanted to provide my guests with sustainable seafood.

Choose eco-friendly soap

A recent study found that gender-bending fish are on the rise in some Alberta rivers because of high levels of man-made contaminants in the water. Think prevention and protect our drinking water and fish habitat by choosing eco-friendly household products that don't contain harmful chemicals. You could even make your own laundry soap!

Tell us how you support sustainable seafood. The Facebook comment with the most "likes" wins! Prizes up for grabs include the book A Good Catch by Jill Lambert.

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

October 15, 2010

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Feb 29, 2012
9:25 PM

Thank you for the information that provided.

Nov 18, 2010
7:33 AM

Yes! I eat every weekend sardines! I love this food cause it`s easy and makes me full of energy( at least I feel so).

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