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Sustainable Fishing: Why It Matters

Posted: Jan 11 2014

Fish For Sushi champions the ideals of an eco-friendly process, and being in the fish industry, that means approaching our inventory using sustainable practices whenever and wherever possible. The term sustainable essentially means "leaving things as we found them." Of course, it's not going to be exactly the same after fishing, but through sustainable practices, the local ecosystems remain secure and without any noticeable changes or disturbances.

When business is involved, that's often easier said than done. Studies have shown that 85% of the world's fisheries are fished at capacity or overcapacity -- in other words, the saying may be that there are other fish in the sea, but the truth is that there really is a limit. Let's take a look at what contributes to this:

#1 Taking more than you should: If more fish are removed than can naturally reproduce in the ocean, then eventually you'll run out. Individual fishing companies may not look at this on a micro scale, but cumulatively the macro total shows that the collective total of fish removed is exceeding reproduction.

#2 Playing by the rules: Commercial fishing is a tough, sometimes dangerous venture, and that may lead some people to cut corners as they seek their bottom line. However, regulations are in place for the purposes of preserving the ecosystem and the marketplace. Unfortunately, nearly 25% of wild fish caught are done through pirate fishing, which throws off metrics and leads to the problem stated in #1.

#3 Changing the habitat: Habitats and ecosystems can be disturbed through any number of ways. Too many boats and equipment can lead to pollution, and equipment itself can damage the habitat if used carelessly. Similarly, outside factors -- from non-native fish to plant life -- can be introduced without carefully monitoring gear and processes. One type of fish may be overfished, thus knocking the local food chain out of balance.

All of these issues are man-made. More importantly, they are things that can be addressed through processes, guidelines, and transparency. Various international laws and treaties exist to ensure sustainable practices. In addition, various organizations are focused on conservation and public awareness. Unfortunately, the ocean is so vast that unscrupulous fishing companies continue to be involved within the industry.

At Fish For Sushi, our goal is to stock from as many sustainable sources as possible. Some of our bestsellers also are recognized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program as preferred choices for generally sustainable, eco-friendly farming. These include Farmed Scallops (Best Choice), Capelin Roe (Best Choice) , Albacore Tuna (Best Choice) , and Butterfly Shrimp (Good Alternative) . In addition, Fish For Sushi representatives are in constant contact with suppliers regarding their own sustainability efforts and recognized criteria. 

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