Seafood is a vital source of protein for many people. However, overfishing and destructive fishing practices can negatively impact ocean ecosystems. Choosing sustainable seafood restaurants supports fisheries that prioritize sustainability, which helps prevent overfishing and habitat destruction. You can also help by avoiding seafood species high on the food chain and opting for lower-on-the-food-chain options like oysters or Pacific geoduck clams. Whether by being transparent with customers or by offering seafood that is sustainably certified as such
When restaurants use locally sourced seafood, it reduces the energy and fossil fuels needed for transportation. This means that the food has less of a carbon footprint, and it is healthier for the environment as well. In addition, when restaurants use locally sourced seafood, they help support the local economy. This is especially important because it helps keep people employed and supports the local businesses that work in the industry. The best Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants in San Francisco offer sustainable seafood at a very affordable price. The restaurant also helps promote their menu options’ sustainability to their customers. Using locally sourced seafood can help to relieve the pressure on overfished species. This can help to protect marine ecosystems and allow the more popular seafood species to repopulate. In addition, avoiding overfishing will help ensure that there is enough seafood for future generations.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
When customers dine at sustainable seafood restaurants, they can feel good about supporting an eco-friendly business. Not only do these businesses strive to use sustainable practices in their operations, but they also share the details of those initiatives with their customers. This can help increase customer satisfaction and boost a restaurant’s reputation. A seafood restaurant’s carbon footprint can vary based on where the fish is caught and how it is processed. For instance, shipping seafood to be processed abroad can increase its carbon footprint significantly compared to local sourcing. The type of tool used to catch the seafood can also make it climate-friendly. For example, small, lower trophic species like anchovies are among the best options as they have one of the lowest carbon footprints — requiring less fuel to fill nets than larger, high-input catches.
Additionally, seafood farmed using sustainable methods has a smaller carbon footprint than wild-caught fish and shellfish. These foods are usually raised without the need for animal feed, which also reduces greenhouse gases. Sustainable seafood restaurants tend to have a much smaller footprint than their non-sustainable counterparts. They can also work with suppliers to limit waste and recycle food scraps into compost.
Fishing is not inherently bad for the ocean, but many factors contribute to declining marine wildlife populations. One of the most significant is overfishing, which occurs when vessels take more from people than they can replenish yearly. This can reduce natural capital and leave the species and the ecosystem vulnerable to other stressors like climate change. Overfishing is particularly bad for smaller, less-fished species, which are more likely to be wiped out entirely. This has been a major issue in coastal communities worldwide, where it can take decades for some species to recover after being overfished. By increasing demand for these options, buying seafood from restaurants that prioritize sustainability can help reduce overfishing. Many restaurants will work extra hard to find and offer sustainable seafood options. In addition to individual consumer decisions, restaurateurs can support the transition to sustainable seafood by passing policies that encourage using these alternatives. These can include reforms to fishing subsidies and declaring sea areas off-limits to non-sustainable harvests. The best way to help protect the ocean is by eating locally caught seafood and in season. This reduces the energy required for transportation on boats, planes, and delivery trucks, reducing your seafood’s carbon footprint. It also helps support local fishermen and their families.
Seafood restaurants that prioritize sustainability offer several benefits to customers beyond supporting ocean health. As a bonus, sustainable seafood is often also more flavorful. Chefs can find a wide range of seafood options that fit their menu, from local species like Pacific geoduck clams (which are sustainably farmed using bottom culture methods) to tilapia and catfish caught in the United States that are sustainably wild-caught or certified as sustainable by an MSC label. Most Americans say they will pay more for sustainable and responsibly sourced seafood. Adding sustainable seafood options to the menu is an excellent way for restaurants to boost profits while gaining customer trust. As more people become interested in eating seafood, they want to know that their fish is healthy and environmentally friendly. A good place to start is choosing seafood options with a sustainability certification, such as MSC or Friend of the Sea, which ensures that a seafood restaurant is committed to responsible sourcing.
Additionally, consumers should look for lower seafood species on the food chain. According to a Nature paper, these species are more nutrient-dense than predatory fish and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Some examples of low-impact seafood include oysters, mussels and clams, and Pacific grenadier (a sustainably wild-caught or farmed option).