NY Times: Consumers and Sustainability
2012-05-26
NY Times: Consumers and Sust...

Last week Ray and Ulrike Hilborn, authors of the book Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, wrote an editorial for the New York Times that quite eloquently cleared up so much of the confusion consumers face when trying to purchase sustainable seafood.

The article sites retail outlets pulling seafood product from the shelves based on “red lists” issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute, the assumption being that because a species is overfished, it is not sustainable.

But, as the Hilborns point out, "Those decisions are based on a misunderstanding of what constitutes a sustainable fishery. The fact is that we can harvest a certain fraction of a fish population that has been overfished, if we allow for the natural processes of birth and growth to replace what we take from the ocean and to rebuild the stock. Instead of calling on consumers to abstain from all overfished species, we should direct our attention at fisheries that consistently take more fish than can be naturally replaced.

Truly informative seafood labels must distinguish between the abundance of a fish stock and its sustainability. Some fish will be disappearing from supermarket shelves over the next few years even though they are being sustainably managed. Consumers should tell retailers and environmental groups not to “red list” fish stocks that may be overfished but are being replenished."

Click here to read the full article.


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