In an age where the health of our oceans is increasingly at risk – just look to the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean or the sea of bleached coral – the choices we make about the seafood we consume have never been more important.
When we choose seafood that is sustainably sourced, we're making a commitment to preserving marine ecosystems, supporting responsible fishing practices, and ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same delicacies from the sea. But it’s not just about the planet, it’s also about our health. Consuming farmed, unethically-raised seafood has a domino effect on consumers with increased exposure to antibiotics, harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Here’s how sustainable practises aim to make a difference:
- Environmental Conservation: Sustainable fishing practices help protect our oceans and marine life. By avoiding overfishing and minimising bycatch, we reduce the impact on delicate ecosystems.
- Ethical Considerations: Ethical seafood sourcing emphasises humane treatment of both the fish and the workers in the industry. It supports fair labour practices and responsible fish handling.
- Quality and Flavour: High-quality seafood is typically the result of sustainable practices. Fish that have lived and grown naturally in their habitat often have superior taste and texture.
The Dark Side of Salmon Farming
Salmon farming has become a significant player in the seafood industry, but it is not without its perils. While it provides a consistent supply of this popular fish, it poses some substantial challenges:
- Environmental Impact: Salmon farming can lead to water pollution, habitat destruction, and disease transmission to wild fish. Escaped farmed salmon can compete with and harm wild populations.
- Antibiotic Use: In densely packed salmon farms, disease outbreaks are common. This means farmers rely on antibiotics a little too often, which can contribute to antibiotic resistance and affect the overall quality of the fish.
- Chemical Additives: Farmed salmon are sometimes exposed to chemical treatments to enhance their colour, affecting both the flavour and potential health concerns.
- Nutritional Differences: Farmed salmon may have different nutritional profiles compared to their wild counterparts due to differences in diet and environment.
Farmed salmon is one of the worst choices for sustainability, and this is due to the environmental effects on the surrounding ecosystems, from promoting low oxygen levels to increasing dead zones found in the ocean, with excessive salmon production a major contributor. The result? Over a million farmed fish died between 2017 and 2018.
Nutrition-wise, wild salmon tend to be lighter in calories, while packing more protein than their farmed counterparts. You may be interested to hear that farmed fish have higher levels of vitamin A and D – but wild salmon has far higher levels of omega 3 DHA content. One study found that wild-caught salmon contained up to 10 times less of a contaminant known as polychlorinated biphenyl than their farmed counterparts, making it a better option for avoiding harmful chemicals. Canadian wild-caught salmon are caught in coastal waters, and they happen to be one of the most sustainable types of fish to consume. This is because the seines used to catch the salmon cause less ecological damage and have a low bycatch rate – meaning other fish and sea creatures don’t get unintentionally caught up in the fishing nets.
How to Ensure Your Fish is Sustainable and Ethical
- Properly vet your product: The labels may say “sustainable”, but this isn’t a guarantee of ethical practices, nor does it indicate how they measure up to other fisheries. Before you make a purchase, do some investigating online.
- Check for the CMS tick: The blue MSC label (Marine Stewardship Council) on your product packaging indicates that a fishery has been vetted and independently tested for sustainable practises. This way you’ll know if your choices come from companies that practice sustainable management.
- Check the GoodFish Sustainable Seafood Guide: This website catalogues everything from shellfish to sharks, showing you the most sustainable options. Let’s take a look at some of the worst and best rated seafood options:
Opting to shop from a reputable company is one of the best choices you can make – ButcherCrowd has emerged as an affordable and sustainable option amid the sea of not-so-ethical products you’ll find in your supermarket. They proudly source wild-caught salmon from their natural habitats, ensuring their suppliers adhere to responsible fishing practice and our strict standards of quality. Their salmon is:
- Wild caught
- Sustainably sourced
- Added colour-free
Their sustainably-sourced tiger prawns are also wild caught, free from containment and stressful environments. They’re free from antibiotics, hormones and other artificial additives that are sometimes used in farmed prawn production. These prawns are caught in their natural habitat without contributing to the issues associated with intensive shrimp farming, such as habitat destruction and pollution.
Sounds good, right? If you’re keen to learn more and enjoy more nutritious, wholesome meals, head on over to ButcherCrowd’s website for all your sustainable, ethical meat and seafood needs – they’ve got a plan for everyone, whether you’re living alone or you’ve got a big family.
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