Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fish: Where does yours come from?

I was out and about the other day so decided to pop into the fish markets to pick up some fish for dinner... Actually, if I'm being perfectly honest, I was heading home from Double Bay visiting a friend and her gorgeous new baby girl, Annabelle, and decided to go home via the Zumbo in The Star. As an afterthought, I figured I could stop by the fish markets as well. After wondering around a bit, I picked what I wanted, so asked the girl serving me if the fish was from a sustainable source. I think my trip to Antarctica has reminded what a beautiful, spectacular, amazing place our world is, and that I need be more mindful of where my seafood comes from. Anyway, the girl turned around and said "Sorry, I don't know what you mean". I was like, what, you don't know what I mean? How does someone that works in a FISH STORE in the very famous Sydney Seafood Markets not know what sustainable sources means. I was disgusted! I will openly admit that I'm not fantastic at being super aware of what I'm buying, but as least I know what 'sustainable' means. This said to me that either the company she didn't work for didn't really care, or the customers don't, or both. Either way, it wasn't good. In the end, the fish was farmed, so it was sustainable, but it did get me thinking about what 'sustainable' really means, and if many people actually know.

Basically, buying sustainably means that you buy your fish from a source that reaches our plates with minimal impact on the fish populations or the wider marine environment. So that's everything from fishing to allow fish stocks to maintain their population levels, to not jeopardising the ecosystem which they live in, to avoiding 'bycatching' (the hundreds of millions or animals every year that are caught accidentally as a result of commercial fishing).

There are a lot of issues with the standard commercial fishing process, but I think maybe overfishing is one issue that has roll on affect that most people don't realise. One potential example that was I got a lot more up close and popular with recently was krill fishing. The oil from krill is becoming popular source of omega-3 oil in tablet format. In the past, processing technical restrictions have meant that overfishing of krill was difficult, but these restrictions are being overcome which could open up the market dramatically and may lead to overfishing. So who will be affected if we overfish krill? They may seem small and insignificant, but those little pink crustaceans feed birds, penguins, seals and whales (as very evident by the masses of pink poo we saw in Antarctica). There's already a natural ebb and flow of krill levels which can have a dramatic effect on breeding levels of these cute, furry (well, except for the whales) animals, so you can only imagine the affect we could have if we don't monitor and restrict ourselves to only what the ocean can sustain.

Anyway, that's enough of a rant for today...But I think my trip to the fish markets reminded me we all have to think a bit more about where our fish comes from. It may cost a little more, but aren't we better off spending a few more dollars on something we know is good for this beautiful earth we live on, and buying something else on sale instead. After all, would you want to take away this little guy's food??

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