Plenty of Fish in the Sea?... Let's Help Keep it That Way!
For this week’s Preservation Pointer, we highlight World Fisheries Day. Celebrated every November 21, this day serves to remind us of the importance of having healthy ocean ecosystems and ensuring sustainable fisheries throughout the world.
Seafood is the largest traded food commodity, providing a primary protein source for over 3 billion people! All too often, in parts of the developing world, fisheries are depleted of their stock (overfished), in order to meet demand. When certain regions are continuously overfished, it puts huge strains on other marine life that would otherwise depend on the same resources. This could eventually lead to entire ecosystems collapsing.
Along with overfishing, fisheries are also threatened by climate change (rising water temperatures) as well as the effects of pollution. One example of this is the rise of water acidity. More acidic water can alter the calcification (shell-building) process for many of our "go-to" favorites including oysters and shrimp.
The good news is that with time, patience and proper management and regulation of the world's fisheries, fish populations CAN bounce back and thrive. Aquaculture (farming fish) has also made significant contributions to keeping fish supplies plentiful!
Here at the zoo, many animals rely on fish as a primary source of nutrition. We strive to ensure that the fish we provide to our animals is sourced through sustainable methods.
The biggest way YOU can help keep fish in the sea is to choose the most sustainably sourced seafood for your own consumption. Our friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium created the SEAFOOD WATCH Guide and \Phone App to help you, as a consumer, navigate all the choices out there! Their easy to follow guides categorize fish into 3 areas, (Green = BEST CHOICES, Yellow = GOOD ALTERNATIVES, and Red = AVOID). Guides are available by region so you can make the best choices for what's available where you live! Please visit their site at seafoodwatch.org to learn more!