Over the past year or so, there has been a change behind the seafood counter. Supermarket leaders like Whole Foods, WalMart, Wegman's and others have been marketing sustainably farmed fish and setting standards that must be met before marketers will call the fish "sustainable."
Concerns about our environment are at an all-time high and at the same time demand for seafood has increased dramatically. Studies have shown the health benefits of eating fish and the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are so good for the heart.
To address the environmental issues associated with the oceans, rivers and waters where fish are found and still meet the growing consumer demand, many have turned to aquaculture or fish farming.
Aquaculture is a big business today representing about a $70 billion industry that helps meet the demand because the supply of wild-caught fish is limited. You may not know it, but that shrimp, salmon or Arctic char you are buying may be farmed-often sustainably. According to industry sources, farm raised fish is about half of U.S. seafood consumption.
The new standards for farm-raised fish is a step in the right direction Presently, while the Marine Stewardship council provides national certification of wild-caught seafood that is reflected on supermarket labels, there has not been nation standards that are widely acceptable for sustainable farming practices. Several environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund have been consulting with Whole Foods and other supermarkets to establish standards.
Here is a summary of the Quality Standards for Aquaculture that Whole Foods recently launched.
- No use of antibiotics,added growth hormones and other chemicals in feed
- Traceability to track farmed seafood on its way to stores
- Requirements for environmental protections of sensitive habitats, monitoring water quality to prevent pollution and responsible sourcing of fewed ingredients
- Strict protocols to ensure farmed seafood not escaping into environment.
With these strict standards being put in place by Whole Foods and other supermarkets they are getting much deserved praise from environmental groups. Ask your supermarket what kind of standards they have for farm raised fish and for wild seafood,too. The standards and certification build consumer confidence that the seafood was sustain ably raised. With the many health benefits of seafood, this new program is something to cheer about.
Here are two favorite seafood recipes that feature sustainably farmed seafood and are summertime favorites at Ellen's Healthy Table:
Published On: August 07, 2008