If you are a fish lover, you may want to know what’s up with the oceans for World Oceans Day (June 8) this year.
The bad news
Fish stocks are declining. This is largely due to advancements in fishing technology which helped scoop tons of fish in an hour, increasing fishing fleets, using fishing methods that destroy habitat, and methods that create bycatch (catching fish that aren’t eaten, even harming dolphins).
- Seafood may be gone by 2048
- 90% of the big fish are gone since 1950
- Fish is the only source of protein (and often, income) for many of the world’s poorest people
Since this is all happening in water, it’s harder to see how dire the situation is, like we do with deforestation.
How are your kids, grandkids, and next generations will be able to enjoy eating fish? With those numbers, you might not be able to eat fish in your lifetime let alone the next generations.
What will oceans without fish look like? What will the impact be on the people whose livelihood depends on fish?
The good news
We can help increase the fish population and restore their habitat, through:
Fisheries, scientists, industry leaders and NGOs are working together to help restore fish habitat. What works:
- Changing fishing methods
- Creating policies to limit over-fishing
- Taking precautions on environmental impacts
These have helped to restore the fish populations in some areas which faced the depletion of fish…but bounced back. (More details from the Pew Charitable Trust.)
Being Wise Consumers
As consumers, we can be a big part of the solution by supporting sustainable fishing initiatives.
There are three easy steps to be a part of the solution, and help restore the fish population.
It can be as simple as asking “What’s for dinner?” More specifically, it means to ask.
1. Ask one question: Do you sell sustainable seafood?
When you are buying fish or ordering at a restaurant, just ask.
What would your reaction be if you saw a tiger or panda steak on your menu? Would you not ask the question of where is it coming from and why? We can approach the seafood the same way.
Sustainable seafood means leaving enough fish in the ocean so fish can reproduce and replenish fish stocks for the future. It means working together with government, local peoples and companies to agree to respect fish habitats and ensure that people who depend on fishing to survive can maintain their livelihoods.
As consumers, we have the power to impact the marketplace. When we take a minute to ask, we increase the demand for sustainable seafood which can spur more fisheries to apply sustainable fishing practices and get certified.
2. Look for the “Certified Sustainable Seafood” label
The blue fish label is given to wild fish or seafood from fisheries who have been certified by MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), an international non-profit organization and watchdog to ensure supplies of seafood now and for the future.
It’s even easier than asking the restaurant, because the label is right there!
[or restate as ‘It’s even easier than asking the proprietors of your local fish market, grocery store, or restaurant, as the label is clearly visible.
3. Download an app
No label? No problem: there is a great app which will help you make good seafood choices called Seafood WATCH. It’s easy: you enter the name of the fish or sushi, and it will give you the best choices based on the location it is fished from.
Feeling motivated? A fourth step to take is to spread the word. Share the sustainable seafood guide with your parents, kids, neighbors, and schools. The more we demand sustainable seafood, the sooner our oceans will recover… so your grandkids can enjoy fish, too.
Enjoy your sustainable seafood!
For more inspiration, read about 4 nonprofits using technology to advance sustainability.
To learn more about our environmental initiatives at Salesforce, visit salesforce.com/sustainability. Some of our recent progress includes announcing our blackwater recycling system, advancing our commitment to renewable energy, and delivering our customers a carbon neutral cloud.
About the Author
Funda Erdin is an IT Architect at Salesforce and an active volunteer with Earthforce, the environmental resource group for employees. Her extensive certifications include: Sigma Black Belt, Salesforce Advanced Admin, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, App Builder, and Apttus CPQ Admin. She has also completed coursework from MIT on artificial intelligence and implications for business strategy, and from UC Berkeley on Business Process Management. Funda lives in the San Francisco bay area and enjoys volunteering with Earthforce when she’s not working on IT.