Celebrate National Seafood Month
National Seafood Month is the perfect time to highlight the importance of consuming sustainable seafood and dive into some great seafood deals at your local market.
According to the U.S. federal agency, NOAA, seafood sustainability means "catching or farming seafood responsibly, with consideration for the long-tem health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend upon the environment".
With increasing seafood sales, the introduction of the USDA's 'My Plate'
and their recommendation to choose seafood at least twice a week
; consumers are beginning to shift their purchasing decisions to not only eat more seafood, but purchase sustainable products. NOAA's data shows that the U.S. seafood market is now the second largest in the world with an overall volume of 4.56 billion pounds in 2011.
Today, shoppers are presented with information rating seafood on; environmental, biological, catch or production practices and health concerns. This information is portrayed through advertising during national events, seafood guides, and the increasing display of eco-labels in seafood cases. Making purchasing decisions can be challenging - but it doesn't have to be!
So, next time you visit the seafood counter at your local market, don't overwhelm yourself by looking at the various labels displayed. These seafood-purchasing tips will guide you to make the best purchasing choice available!
What to Look And Ask For At The Seafood Counter
1 - Ready yourself for visiting the seafood counter. If you have a species in mind, look up its rating by using seafood guides that can be accessed from mobile devices or the web. Seafood guides can be found in both consumer-friendly and scientific formats. They outline sustainability, environmental impacts and health concerns based on mercury contamination. Online guides are recommended because they are constantly revised with the most updated ranking for each species.
2 - When at the seafood counter, ask for the product's country of origin. Some fisheries and aquaculture operations throughout the world cannot afford the large monetary and time investment associated with engaging in sustainable practices.
3 - Ask if the product is farmed or wild caught and ask about the freshness of the product - not all 'fresh-looking' product is indeed fresh (and may have been treated with CO to mask freshness or been previously frozen).
4 - Pay close attention to eco-labels on products as these are a "seal of approval" meant to promote environmentally friendly fisheries and aquaculture operations. Eco-labels are awarded to operations considered sustainable by third-party certification bodies. Another essential element of eco-labels is chain of custody, which is the chronological documentation that guarantees the product carrying the eco-label, actually came from the certified farm or fishery.
So, what are you waiting for? Make the shift to purchasing sustainable products like one of our seafood offerings and have confidence when stepping up to the seafood counter at your local market!