Posts Tagged ‘FishWise’


Posted on August 1, 2011 - by

Mercury in Seafood: How to enjoy your fish without going mad

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Mercury is a toxic metal that builds up in the food chain and can be found in some popular seafood items, posing a health risk to those who frequently eat them. Developing infants and young children are at the highest risk for mercury contamination and may suffer brain damage and learning disabilities from prolonged or repeated exposure, so it is important for women of child-bearing age to minimize their consumption of fish containing high levels of mercury.

Mercury is found naturally in the environment, but levels have increased dramatically since the rise of industrialization in the 19th century. Mercury enters natural water bodies via rain and surface water run off, where it can be converted by bacteria to an organic form called methylmercury. This form of mercury is more toxic and bioaccumulates through the food chain, which is why large predatory species like shark and swordfish are typically higher in mercury than species like anchovy, Alaskan salmon, and shellfish that are lower in the food chain.

Other contaminants which can be found in seafood are PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, which are toxic industrial compounds. As with mercury, they pose serious health risks to developing infants and children, who may suffer developmental and neurological problems from prolonged or repeated exposure. PCBs are carcinogenic and thus harmful to adults as well. Although they were banned from manufacturing in the United States in 1977, PCBs are slow to break down and can persist in the environment at dangerous levels.

For a guide to seafood choices that are tested to be both low* in contaminants and more environmentally responsible**, download a copy of FishWise’s Seafood Low Mercury List, developed in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund.

* Safe for a 154 lb adult to eat 8 oz a week or a 144 lb woman of child bearing age to eat 6 oz a week, based on EPA standards and currently available data on mercury and PCBs
** ‘Best Choices’ or ‘Good Alternatives’ according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program

References:
http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=15903
http://www.usgs.gov/themes/factsheet/146-00/

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on July 21, 2011 - by

Smart Phones Helping Us Make Smart Seafood Decisions

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Let’s face it–choosing sustainable seafood can be difficult. The sustainability of a particular species depends not only on the inherent vulnerability of the species itself, but also on where and how it was caught.

To figure this out, there are apps that place extensive information at our fingertips and conveniently guide our responsible seafood choices. Nowadays, living in a wireless world, the Seafood Watch app for iPhone and Android has replaced the Seafood Watch card in our wallet provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Blue Ocean Institute also has its FishPhone app in addition to their printed guides.

For some consumers, knowing the location and method of catch is not enough! They want to be able to trace their fish back to the source. Some of you can visit local fish markets that generally work very closely with the fishermen themselves, however, most seafood buyers rely on their local grocery store for their seafood needs. Even for experts who work in the seafood industry, tracing seafood back to the source is challenging since the seafood supply chain can be extremely complex.

To go one step further, there are now companies who allow consumers to go online and trace the product back to the source by entering a code on the package in their hands.

Partnering with Trace Register™ – the global food traceability company, Kwik’pak Fisheries has developed a tool that allows consumers to trace their Yukon River Salmon back to the source. We can go to their “Trace Your Fish” web page and enter this example code: 103104. We are then presented with information about the product’s nutritional value, the name of the Yupik fishermen who caught it, how they caught and processed the fish, a map showing the catch location and even healthy recipes to try out.

Some Northern Chef farmed raised shrimp carried by Tai Foong are yellow ranked by the Monterey Bay as well as being traceable. Try this code: 877971002797 and enter it in their Dine Well Shrimp page where we can learn the details about their aquaculture practices, their shrimp quality, and their location in Thailand on the map.

These companies are at the frontier of traceability and others are guaranteed to follow suit, which is great news for consumers like you. The more information you have at your fingertips when choosing seafood, the better the choices you can make for yourself and the environment.

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on July 6, 2011 - by

Community Supported Fisheries: Changing the Way You Buy Seafood

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Land-based farmers have been doing it for years—collecting cash up front from customers at the beginning of the season and offering a consistent supply of fresh, high quality fruits, vegetables and other goods in return. And now, at a time when over 85% of American seafood is imported, U.S. fishermen are also getting on board, so to speak, and offering seasonal seafood to the local community.

This type of arrangement, whereby fishermen sell their product direct to the consumer, is known as a “community supported fishery” (CSF) and they have blossomed on the East coast, particularly North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Now CSFs are slowly but steadily establishing themselves around the rest of the country.

With the influx of cheaper and often less sustainable seafood imports (some types of farmed shrimp, farmed Atlantic salmon and some tuna species), U.S. fisherman are working hard to establish ways to earn a maximum return for their catch. With a CSF program, fishers get a much-needed cash injection at the beginning of the season when they need it most and can increase their share of the profits by selling directly to local customers. Also, when fishermen can earn more for their catch, they fish less aggressively which can mean less impact on the local environment and safer conditions for fishermen.

Just as importantly, you as the customer get the opportunity to learn about new fish species that you may not normally purchase, come to appreciate the seasonality of seafood, and help support local fishers and families, many of whom have been fishing for generations.

If you are interested in learning more, The North Atlantic Marine Alliance has put together a list of community supported fisheries around the country from San Luis Obispo, California to Port Clyde, New England – check it out!

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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Posted on June 21, 2011 - by

Farmed – Not Necessarily a Dirty Word When it Comes to Sustainable Seafood


Image: flickr/rogersmith

Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings.

Farmed vs Wild Seafood – Few issues elicit more passionate discussion amongst seafood lovers worldwide. Regardless of your views on farmed seafood – positive, negative or maybe somewhere in between, one thing is for certain: aquaculture is only going to become more important in the future as a source of protein. In the last few years, aquaculture production has greatly increased and now accounts for half of the seafood production worldwide.

Without question, some farmed seafood is unsustainable. Many of you are probably aware of the removal of mangrove forests to make space for large scale shrimp farms in Southeast Asia and the disease, waste and fish escape issues associated with farmed Atlantic salmon in places such as Canada, Chile and Norway.

While improvements are needed for some farmed shrimp and salmon practices, sustainably farmed seafood is also plentiful. The U.S. is leading the way in sustainable farming practices with many species such as channel catfish, striped bass, rainbow trout, oysters and freshwater prawns – all ranked green “Best Choice” options. These species are sustainable as they use best management practices when farming. Just as importantly, they are easy to cook and taste fantastic.

So next time you are at the seafood counter, consider sustainable farmed options. Who knows, you might just like it!

FishWise is a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy that helps seafood businesses improve the sustainability of their seafood offerings through environmentally responsible business practices, such as policy development, employee training, sourcing assistance and point of sale information. This approach empowers consumer to make environmentally informed choices when purchasing seafood.

To learn more about sustainable seafood, visit www.fishwise.org or sign up for their mailing list.

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