This month Sustainably Savvy challenges you to ‘No Seafood September’!
So this month – no seafood is to be consumed.
(As you’ve noticed, it’s almost mid September but there’s no harm in still trying or continuing after September is over!)
Nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, which is one of the main reasons why ‘No Seafood September’ exists.
This is a new one and let’s be honest – a hard one for those who love seafood and those who don’t follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
It allows us to explore other sources of protein, potentially improve our cooking skills and most importantly – educate us on why eating fish regularly can be harmful for the marine ecosystem and potentially our health.
Don’t get me wrong – around 1 billion people do rely on fish as their primary protein source as well fishing as their source of income; especially those living in coastal zones. Though fishing happens on different scales. From spear fishing, to fishing on your own boat to industrial large scale fishing taking up tonnes of fish daily.
At this point, fish are being overfished, causing declines in marine wildlife populations. The fishing itself isn’t destructive but when we catch fish at a rate that doesn’t allow fish stocks to replenish it is, inherently unsustainable. So the demand is very high and supply is low.
Not only are we fishing too much but the way we fish can be destructive.
Trawling, the of the most common ways to fish commercially, drag nets along the ground floor and in the open water catching a many fish as they can. Often other types of marine life – turtles, dolphins, sharks are caught in the nets, along with the fish that were intended to be caught. These are often called ‘bycatch’. Sometimes it is too late to save them. Sponges, coral and seagrass beds are also damaged when nets are dragged along the floor.
Even though measures are taken to avoid this, it still happens.
Illegal and unreported fishing occurs too.
Worse yet, at least 640,000 tonnes of old fishing nets are lost or abandoned in the ocean yearly – with marine life ending up as casualties as they get caught in them.
Thankfully, many do work towards removing them from our oceans and reusing the materials to make textiles, like Econyl.
There are also specific certifications for ‘sustainably sourced’ seafood but for this month, let’s try our best to avoid seafood for now.