montereyOceansustenance, known to the layman as seafood, is one of the more complicated sustainable food issues. That’s saying something, I hear there’s stiff competition in that category. Anyway, you may know that Eastman (school de music) hosts a Monterey Bay seafood night one Monday a month. I must confess that I myself have never been (for shame), but seafood isn’t exactly my thing. That makes my life easier, but what about you, the loyal reader? Seafood may be exactly your thing.

I want to talk about just a few things relating to seafood. It is simply not possible for me to even gloss all of the issues in this post. If seafood was in a relationship on facebook, it’s status would be “it’s complicated”. For serious. Anyway, the eponymous agency behind the Eastman seafood dinners is Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, henceforth MBSW. They operate out of a conservation aquarium (the Monterey Bay Aquarium) and work with universities, governmental agencies, and independent groups to assess the impact of popular fish (the kind people like to eat, not the kind people vote for prom king). They have a well-designed website that recommends seafood based on its environmental impact. MBSW also has a facebook page, has a twitter, offers pocket guides, and has a free iPhone app. That’s some swanky stuff!

I also wanted to touch on just a few of the general issues with seafood, without going into much depth: Overfishing has caused more than a quarter of global fisheries to collapse, fishing some species to extinction. Polluted waters and an insistence on eating high trophic foods has toxified whole sections of our diet. Farmed fish experience a genetic shift (less fit for a wild environment) that makes interbreeding with wild species dangerous to those species. Trawling has been a popular method of fishing for about a century (it’s been practiced for even longer than that, but it really took off at the outset of the 20th century). Trawling manages to damage the environment in so many ways, that it’s hard to imagine a more destructive way of getting food. It is to the seafood industry what agribusiness is to cropland.

MBSW offers a nice page covering just about every way you can snag a fish in the water. If I can editorialize for a moment here (I know I’ve been doing so all along, but this is my blog!) trawling has turned the fishing in the ocean into shooting fish in a bucket, and it’s managed to damage the bucket pretty badly with that gun.

My last random comment will serve to bring you news from the front. I suppose I’m doing this to prove to you that action can be taken on these issues. Here’s a New York Times report on what’s happening in Europe. Alright, that’ll do it for this week. Have a good weekend, and watch your oceansustenance intake.

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