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Seafood Watch

>> Friday, May 16, 2008

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a unique program that I learned about by picking up a card at my university entitled "Seafood Watch." What I picked up was actually a pocket guide that allowed me to see which types of seafood were harvested in ways that can sustain each of their respective ecosystems. The website goes into more detail.

While protecting our oceans supply of fish may seem like an obvious thing to do for some, for others it is not so obvious. I am gonna try to give a short reasoning as to why fish are vital.

First off, there are about 27,000 species of fish, making up more than 1/2 of all documented vertebrates. Also, they live in water, which covers most of the earth. 70% of the earth is salt water and salt water makes up 97% of liquid water. Fresh water covers 1% of the earth but only .0093% of it is in liquid form. So fishes (yes that is a word) dominate a much larger region than terrestrial invertebrates. This makes them prime for various scientific studies as there are fish that can handle tons of pressure variations and various temperatures from boiling lakes to freezing icecaps. Yet because they all live in water, there are constraints to how they form so most fish are recognizable as fish.

If you are into science, more than likely some research on fish has been done in your area.
Areas of interests that fish can help with:
-habitat segregation
-marine natural products: venoms toxins and mucus
-Enzyme kinetics
-physiological adaptations
-food science
-how to freeze cells
-survival (lost at sea?)
-reproductive strategies

.... the list goes on and on so I will not bore you.

However(!), due to overfishing and unsound farming practices, we are either losing good land to bad farming or depleting fish supplies everywhere. Many people rely on fish as an important part of their diets. In some places it is THE MAIN source of vital protein. Overfishing can seriously impede the production of a species of fish the following year. You need fish to make more fish! There is a fine line between taking just enough to sustain it properly and overfishing. Unfortunately, greed usually wins.

Also, bad fish farming practices can lead to overfishing too, since most fish eat fish meal in these farms. Also, valuable, usually arable land is lost to create these farms. Net pen farming can be bad as well due to the amount of feces in an area polluting nearby coastlines. Again, there are safe farming practices that can be taken. There is more information on all of this at the above website. While you are there download a seafood guide for you wallet or order some to pass out to people you know who eat fish but want things to be a bit better for the oceans.

A view from Lerkenlund into Magens Bay

All photos Copyright me under Creative Commons. you can use it, but give me credit somewhere!


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