My husband grew up eating fish on Friday, that is to say, his family abstained from eating meat on that day, and had fish instead. This was in compliance with religious tradition, and although that tradition has long since passed for him and many others, it got him in the habit of eating fish once a week. This is a good thing. For eons, folks have known that fish is good for you, full of protein, low in fat, easy to digest and high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked with lowering blood pressure and strengthening the immune system.
However, choosing the right fish and seafood to eat is not always the simplest thing to do. It is doubtful that a box of frozen, breaded fish sticks or a styrofoam container with a deep-fried fish filet sandwich is necessarily going to be better for you than a Whopper, or better for the environment, specifically, better for the marine systems –the oceans, lakes and rivers- that are so precious to the overall health of our planet.
That is why environmentalists like David Suzuki and organizations like Oceanwise and Seachoice are so important. If you’re not sure where to begin, David Suzuki’s “Top Ten Sustainable Seafood Picks” might be a good place to start.
The fish you serve for dinner might just be the most important decision you make this week.
People like Suzuki advocate for the health and welfare of our planet, they attempt to keep governments and multinational corporations from destroying fragile or at-risk environments while keeping the average consumer aware of food choices that are responsible and sustainable. How often have we wandered up to the seafood counter at our grocery store and wondered about the offerings laid out in front of us?
Where was it caught? By whom? How? Did it come from a farm, or was it caught in the wild? Is this fish on an endangered species list? There are so many concerns we have as responsible consumers that it is incumbent on ourselves to do a little research. The internet is a great place to start, of course. Just start with the links mentioned above and take it from there.
Many of us celebrated Earth Day recently. Maybe we biked to work, went out and cleaned up a neighbourhood park, or dimmed the lights for an hour. Well, the oceans are a pretty large part of our earth; over 70% of the planet’s surface is covered by water, and the sealife within them- at least half of the species known to man- can sustain us indefinitely if properly managed. Did you know that Saturday, June 8 was World Oceans Day?
Or that Fin (a great name!) Donnelly, a member of British Columbia’s provincial parliament is petitioning to have one day a year earmarked as National Sustainable Seafood Day?
It can be a lot to handle, when ultimately all we want to do is put a nice fish dinner on the table without worrying that we are messing things up. Luckily we have people who can help us make informed choices.