UW Combined Fund Drive

August 8, 2022

Consume seafood sustainably to protect ocean ecosystems

Seafood and Seattle go hand-in-hand, and summer in Seattle is often synonymous with fresh salmon and world-class crustaceans and mollusks.

Not only does it taste good, seafood has positive impacts on our health and is proven to lower the risk of heart disease.

Unfortunately, our love of seafood can have detrimental effects on our planet when not managed or harvested sustainably.

Currently over 171 million tons of seafood are harvested each year, feeding some 3 billion people. There has been an annual increase in seafood consumers for many years, and yet wild fish stock populations have stayed level.

The Marine Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit has estimated that 90% of fish stock is already fully or over-exploited. Overfishing can have harmful effects on ocean ecosystems and can dramatically alter aquatic and terrestrial food webs.

Recreational fishers and seafood consumers should remember that with a love for catching and consuming seafood comes a responsibility to protect our ocean ecosystems.

One way to eat seafood sustainably is to buy from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) managed fisheries. NOAA Fisheries work closely with regional fishery management councils and are guided by several laws that prevent overfishing to protect marine ecosystems.

Regulated aquaculture is another way to consume seafood sustainably. When implemented correctly, aquaculture is recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious ways to produce seafood.

NOAA has found that the benefits from farming shellfish like oysters and mussels include removing pollutants from water ways, providing habitat for smaller marine life, and helping prevent shoreline erosion. Marine aquaculture, when managed properly, has a smaller carbon footprint and require less land and fresh water than other forms of livestock.

Wondering how to navigate the different wild and farmed fisheries to buy from? Check out NOAA’s FishWatch to understand more about what seafood is best to eat in your region. At the grocery store you can look for seafood items with a blue MSC label. These items are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as meeting sustainable Fisheries Standards.


Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to one of our member organizations working to protect our ocean habitats and encourage sustainable fishing.

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