For those in the world of commercial fishing, sustainability is an ever-present part of the thought process when selecting new gear, targeting certain fishing grounds, and making decisions about the future of these multi-generational businesses. After all, without sustainability, future generations won’t have a fishing business to take over.
But go beyond the vessels and away from the docks and one often wonders – do most people understand what sustainable seafood is all about? According to NOAA, the United States is a leader in sustainable seafood, but would most consumers know or care?
We’ve taken a look at what NOAA believes every person should know about sustainable seafood (report linked here) and boiled it down for your quick review, while adding a few thoughts of our own.
Our fishermen and those around the US abide by some of the strictest regulations in the world. That’s why, when you see so-called documentary films meant to stir up an anti-fishing sentiment, U.S. fisheries are seldom mentioned. Under the guidance of several laws, the industry is closely scrutinized and the result is a noteworthy reputation around the world.
Laws aren’t the only consideration. There are 10 national standards as well. According to NOAA, those standards are principles that must be followed in any fishery management plan to ensure sustainable and responsible fishery management. Overfishing, conservation, incidental catch, and the safety of human life are just a few of the items addressed in those national standards.
Managing fisheries is referred to as “dynamic” which is another way of saying – this stuff is constantly changing! NOAA’s report outlines all of the different aspects of fisheries management and describing all the moving parts as “robust” is an understatement. The same is true of our fishermen and others in affiliated industries. From changes in climate, to surviving the impacts of a global pandemic – the world of commercial fishing is ever-changing, but what doesn’t change is our commitment to sustainability.
Aquaculture is part of the sustainability equation. Let’s face it, we are more than biased in favor of wild-caught seafood. But in the sustainability report, NOAA outlines how aquaculture can contribute positively to clean waterways, healthy economies, and food security.
Nobody feels more strongly about illegal fishing than those who make their living honestly and legally. Those who fish illegally using unsafe and unsustainable practices do a grave disservice to MTC members and all who take the extra steps to work within guidelines and accepted practices. This is an issue NOAA is working on both nationally and internationally and we’re glad they are on the job.
Go more in depth on the importance of sustainable fishing and NOAA’s role by visiting their website.