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How to Take Extinction off the Seafood Menu

Emily Rothkrug

March 23, 2018

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Renee Erickson, Joy Crump, and Anita Jaisinghani at the SXSW Feastly JBF Pop-Up
Left to Right: JBF Award winner Renee Erickson both presented on sustainable seafood and cooked with Joy Crump and Anita Jaisinghani at SXSW (Photo: Mitchell Davis)

Last week at SXSW, our senior director of food policy advocacy Katherine Miller sat down with Sheila Bowman of Monterey Bay Aquarium, JBF Award–winning chef Renee Erickson of Sea Creatures Restaurants in Seattle, and commercial fisherman Amy Grondin to talk about the threat of mass extinction of seafood species. Here are three things that we can do to be more responsible consumers:

  • Ask! This holds true for both consumers and chefs. If you don’t see a sustainably raised or caught fish at your supplier or grocery store, the best thing you can do is ask the employees for that item. For consumers especially, being persistent in your requests can drive real change in what you see on grocery store shelves.
  • Treat fish like land-based food. Seafood is diverse, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainability. Support fisheries that are doing great work. Use the whole fish. Read labels and become a more educated consumer. It’s already happening with sustainable meat, so why not seafood?
  • Diversify your diet. Find substitutes for fish like Bluefin tuna or farmed salmon and consistently make a choice to order them at the supermarket or restaurants. To quote Amy Grondin, “we need to diversify our diet to keep diversity in our oceans.”

Find out more about JBF’s sustainable seafood program, Smart Catch.

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Emily Rothkrug is an Impact Programs associate at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.