Created by Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Seafood Watch® program engages and empowers consumers and businesses to purchase seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that minimize environmental impact. Seafood Watch® ranks seafood and sushi on a scale of sustainability: “Best Choices” (green); “Good Alternatives” (yellow); and “Avoid” (red).
What’s the issue?
- Overfishing—Some species are depleted more quickly than they can reproduce. About 90 percent of fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited, or have collapsed as a result of overfishing.
- Illegal fishing—The use of illegal fishing methods can destroy planned management and decrease fish populations. Illegal gear can also harm ocean (or marine) habitats because of lack of regulation. Human rights issues are also a concern.
- Bycatch—Bycatch is the accidental catch of unwanted species. In some cases, this happens when large nets the length of three football fields are used to catch a target species. These large nets may be trying to catch shrimp or other fish, but they also accidentally catch endangered sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and even seabirds. This unwanted catch is often thrown back into the ocean dead or dying.
- Habitat damage—Fishing gear affects more than the species involved. Depending on the type of gear used or farming operation, habitats can be negatively affected. Coastal mangrove forests and sensitive sea floor habitats are often impacted. Additionally, excess chemicals from farming operations can cause dead zones in and around the farming site.
- Fish farming—More than half of all fish consumed worldwide is farm-raised, and many scientists consider “aquaculture” or fish farming the protein of the future. Just like farming on land can be done responsibly or irresponsibly, the same is true for fish farming.
- Aquaculture—Has a lot of potential to be a sustainable solution for current and future generations. Be sure to check the Seafood Watch® guide or app to find sustainable, ocean-friendly farmed seafood choices.
What is Zoo Atlanta doing?
Zoo Atlanta is a proud partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Zoo Atlanta uses Seafood Watch® guidelines to purchase sustainable seafood when feeding our animals, including our giant otters, scarlet ibis, bald eagle, and numerous turtle species.
Make better choices for a healthier ocean.
Oceans are vital to sustain life on Earth. Due to their vastness, oceans seem indestructible and their resources limitless. In reality, the ocean is a natural resource which needs oversight and management.
Some fishing and fish farming methods are destructive and unsustainable for our oceans. If continued, they will limit our and other species’ ability to survive.
What can YOU do?
- Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app for your smartphone; this is an easy way to find out quickly if products are ocean-friendly.
- When dining out or shopping for seafood, ask this simple five- word question: “Do you sell sustainable seafood?”
- Share this information with your friends and family. Raising awareness is key to saving our oceans!