You know I don’t do this very much, but it’s time I got back on my high seahorse and spread some vital information regarding the state of the world’s oceans.
Do you love seafood as much as I do? I hope you do. I actually hope you love it enough to stop and think about the consequences of that love.
Love, indeed, has consequences and condoms are not always the answer!
Fishing is an ancient practice. Fishing has helped sustain the human race and was one of the first important steps human societies took towards developing a market based food supply chain. There are deeply important cultural associations attached as well.
But in the last few decades, the way we get fish to market has begun to radically alter our marine ecosystems. Over fishing, environmental degradation and destructive harvest practices are becoming cataclysmic.
I bring all this up (again!) because these problems reach further than merely keeping this food obsessed yacker sourced up with tasty tid-bits from the sea. Because these fishing practices, you see, not only damage marine eco-systems and send species into extinction. They actually threaten the economic stability of tens of millions of people in the developing world and exacerbate the ongoing crisis of world hunger, now and into the future.
Organizations such as Seafood Watch are trying to educate consumers. As individuals and as a society, it is imperative that we take action to assure a future in which the oceans can thrive. Because with out healthy eco-systems the seafood we so love will simply disappear.
There are chefs on board with this movement as well. Some chefs are beginning to realize they have an even greater role in shaping the tastes of consumers. Because their menu choices, and their purchasing decisions put them in a unique position to reach out to the hearts, minds and stomachs of we seafood loving consumers.
Many of these chefs and other culinary leaders have signed a simple but powerful pledge.
These chefs know that the oceans are resilient, and fish populations can rebound– if given the chance.
This simple pledge got me thinking about the responsibility we food bloggers also have in helping to sustain the future of delicious seafood. That’s because we are tastemakers too. People turn to the words we write and the recipes we present for inspiration. If our words and our recipe choices are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem.
I can’t tell you how many blogs I have been to and seen recipes for Monk Fish, Orange Roughy, and Chilean Sea Bass. I am ashamed to say I have kept my mouth shut in these instances. Why hurt feelings and rustle feathers (or get gills in a lather), right?
Wrong, because I now realize as bloggers our choices reach further than our own kitchens. So I have to wonder, how many other readers saw those same recipes. And worse how many of them ran right out and purchased these types of fish. Thereby supporting the belief that simple market demands determine supply.
Well, we can help change market demands. Because there are so many wonderful choices of seafood that are safe, healthy and sustainable. I pledge to always make these choices to the best of my ability, though I concede it is a complex problem.
That is why Seafood Watch has developed a series of pocket guides. Download one. Educate yourself and your readers about best practices. There is no reason to avoid seafood. Just stop and think before you make a purchase, and especially before you post a recipe. Because there are consequences.
If we bloggers make the responsible choices, and explain to our readers why we have made these choices– we can help shape the tastes and practices of our seafood loving communities. Because one thing we bloggers do very well is reach out to our communities. We can influence the future of the world’s oceans, in small ways and large.
If chefs and other culinary leaders can take this pledge and make a difference, I know we can do our part to. So take a look at the list below and think about our role in shaping the future.