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Not too many fish in the sea….

Australia and seafood.

The two go hand-in-hand in most people’s minds and no doubt this has something to do with the fact that we are an island.

I feel it is safe to say that seafood is part of our cultural identity and without doubt; most of our holidays as well.

One of our lovely readers posted this below question to us….

“Hi – loving your blog. Can you please give us some information on seafood. In particular where you source your seafood from. We love salmon (smoked & fillets cooked at home) & eat it up to 3 a week is ok. I buy from the local fish shop which is super fresh but I know this salmon is most likely farmed & wondering what your thoughts are on this. Thanks xox”

Thank you so much for the wonderful and thought provoking question and in return here are my thoughts…..

First and foremost I need to admit something (shocking) to our lovely readers…

I do not eat much seafood and I very rarely buy it.

Growing up I barely ate seafood despite my entire family being large consumers of this highly valuable part of the food pyramid. As I grew more and more interested in health and wellness, the obvious facts about seafood were impossible to ignore. Just a snapshot of the long list of its incredible magic are here – immensely benefical for our musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, nervous system, and immune functions.

In short – amazing, wondrous, superfood.

Across the broad spectrum of seafood products you have nutritious selections offering high protein, “good” fats and low calories. For me however; the taste, smell, appearance and texture of pretty much all seafood; offers little appeal. I wish it was not the case.

Over the past 2 years I have consistently supplemented with a premium and concentrated fish oil to provide my body with some of these incredible benefits. So when the question was put to us, I took it upon myself to become well-versed in the ways of seafood. Nutritionally and ethically. It must be said that the question of where to buy seafood and its’ sustainability is incredibly complex though this is my take on things…

Catch of the Day! Image credit : www.tippydray.com

Catch of the Day!
Image credit : http://www.tippydray.com

THE FACTS

  • The Commonwealth Government’s annual report on the state of Australia’s fish resources states that 13.5% of fish stocks are overfished or are being fished too heavily, and the status of 28% is not known
  • Australian waters are quite low in nutrients and don’t hold a huge abundance of fish (surprising!!)
  • FUN FACT – the average Australian eats around 18kgs of seafood a year
  • Aquaculture – or fish farming – has been held up as the solution to the above and ever increasing demand for seafood; though has its own issues
  • Farmed fish have a continued requirement for wild caught fish to use as feed
  • As a direct result of overfishing, in Australia there are a number of species currently listed as protected under national environmental law

Bottom line – our population increases and our demand for seafood increases. The balance of what we take from the seas and how to keep the ocean healthy to enable us having seafood in the future is crucial.

OK now you have the facts and you are sitting there reading this saying something like, ” I love seafood so what does this all mean to me and my health?”

As with all produce – the best practice farming methods along with cultivation of the best land and water, yields the best possible product. These practices take into account environmental impact, animal welfare, community development and of course the quality of the produce itself. Together they provide the best possible, most delicious and nourishing food for us to consume.

Free-to-roam eggs…. free-range chicken…. organic vegetables…. sustainable seafood.

Put simply this means seafood from fisheries that maintain their stocks and the surrounding ecosystems over the long-term. “A truly sustainable fishery meets the long-term needs of fishermen, seafood consumers and the environment together,” is how the the Australian Marine Conservation Society defines it for us.

So even if you don’t care so much for the environmental impact; by making the choice to buy sustainable seafood; you do make a difference. To the environment, to drive change for fishing in the future and for your body.

HOW do you make the right choice? WHAT is the best choice?

Through my research I have discovered the most wonderful (and easy-to-use) guide for those of us buying and enjoying seafood within Australia. For anyone outside of Oz you will in fact notice much information in this guide for many species from all over the world as well!

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has produced the Sustainable Seafood Guide and this is how it works…..

  1. Look up the species
  2. Check its assessment under the traffic light system and note the comments

Green = Better Choice

Amber = Think Twice

Red = Say No

That easy.

Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide - image credit AMCS

Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide – image credit AMCS

Find the guide here >>>>

http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide.asp?active_page_id=702

To save you time I have completed the below research on just a few of the much loved and widely enjoyed seafood products for us Aussies and I apologise in advance to those of you who may be disappointed…

Green = Better Choice

  • Whiting
  • Trevally
  • Squid
  • Australian Salmon
  • Mud Crab
  • Oysters

Amber = Think Twice

  • Barramundi (wild and farmed varieties)
  • Wild bugs
  • Crayfish
  • Dory
  • Prawns (wild and farmed varieties)

Red = Say No

  • Imported prawns
  • Wild scallops
  • Farmed trout
  • Wild snapper
  • Tuna (see further details in the guide)

So you can enjoy seafood by the truckload and also do so knowing that you made the best choice for the environment, our ocean’s future and your health.

Nadia xxxx

References:

http://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/fisheries.html

http://www.marineconservation.org.au/pages/fishing-issues.html

http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide-Australia.asp?active_page_id=699

http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide.asp?active_page_id=702

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