What Exactly Do Sustainable Labels Mean on Seafood?

Today, many consumers are very ‘label conscious.’ Instead of simply grabbing whatever product happens to be the first they see on the shelf, many are taking the time and making an effort to really get to know the products they are using and buying. From organic food to ‘green’ dry cleaning, once a person really stops for a moment and pays attention to the impact on the Earth of even the most mundane activities, it’s a good enough reason to start looking for environmentally conscious products.

One such example is sustainable seafood, but exactly what is sustainable seafood? In order to be labeled as sustainable, a seafood source must maintain 花膠筒價錢or increase the population of the seafood species, and must not negatively impact ecosystems where the seafood species is harvested, amongst other tenets. This sounds great on a label and is of course a great start.

Overfishing and fishing methods that destroy natural ecosystems are both fast ways to extinction of not only seafood species’ populations, but the fishing industry. However, sustainable seafood labels can be deceiving. Just because a seafood species is labeled sustainable, does not mean it was harvested in the wild. Some are fished, but others are farmed. Generally, farmed species, while thriving in numbers, are compromised in other ways. Full of antibiotics and hormones, and with lesser quality when it comes to color, taste and texture, farm raised sustainable seafood can give the entire concept a bad rap.

It’s important, then, to know not only on paper “what is sustainable seafood,” but where the best, fresh and wild sustainable seafood comes from. For a safe bet, and one that is available in many parts of the world, the true seafood lover will head straight to products from the icy cold waters of Alaska. While there are many regulatory government organizations today that are busy in the ‘labeling’ department, the Alaskan government has been living a policy of sustainability when it comes to seafood species.

A model on the international stage for how to manage resources that might be finite without regulation and intervention, the policies set into motion within the 1959 Alaska State Constitution have been incredibly effective. Now, in a modern world, there are organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council, Friend of the Sea, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s FishWatch, and legislation like the Endangered Species Act and the Sustainable Fisheries Act to help out. While these organizations work to bring the knowledge of what is sustainable seafood to consumers, Alaska is busy proving itself time and time again with effective management practices and great quality products.