For the past several weeks I have had an advertisement here for the Vancouver Aquarium Chowder Chowdown event in Toronto to promote sustainable seafood. They didn’t pay me to run the ad but I was happy to offer it for free because sustainable fishing is a cause I care about.
I grew up on the East Coast of Canada and while neither my family nor my friends are fisherman it is an issue that is close to me. We grew up eating fish regularly, buying it fresh on the roadside knowing it was caught that morning. Without a doubt my Nanny made the best chowder. Economically, fishing is very important to my province and much needs to be done to support sustainable fishing so that fisherman can support their families for years to come.
The problem is that we are destroying the ocean. We are overfishing. We have too much bycatch. We have diseased fish. We have too much consumer demand for things we shouldn’t be eating.
We are confused.
It’s a complicated issue and there is no answer to simply “don’t eat tuna” or “don’t eat swordfish. Last year I downloaded the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app which was great because all I had to do was look the fish up and it would tell me whether it was cleared or not. It didn’t give me a lot of information about Canada.
The Chowder Chowdown was great, it was nice to see so many chefs and people committed to the cause but what struck me most was this sign:
And I realized it didn’t have to be as complicated, we just needed to know where to look. Ocean Wise is trying to make it easier for us by providing a certification symbol for sustainable choices in-store. They work with restaurants and chefs and offer the symbol for menus as a way to reassure diners are making the right decision. They have also launched an iPhone app (if they could make that an Android app I’d be oh so happy) where you can look up different species of fish as well as find sustainable shops and restaurants.
I don’t know if it can get much easier unless they came into our homes and made our meals for us.