Healthy Oceans: Sustainable Seafood | California Academy of Sciences

Healthy Oceans: Sustainable Seafood | California Academy of Sciences


♪ (intro music) ♪ Are you ready to order yet? No, I know I want seafood, but I want to make sure
my order is sustainable, and I hear eating too much of some fish
can be bad for me. I never thought about that before, I just thought fish was fish. Some are seriously overfished
and on the verge of extinction, others are fine to eat because there’s
tons of them left in the sea. And then you have some fish
that contain high levels of mercury that you should definitely avoid. It’s so confusing! I’m just going to order pasta. Don’t worry. There are many tools
to help you find the right fish dish. I have the arctic char, please. And about your original order
of farmed trout, it’s fine, unless you really wanted pasta. No, I’ll have the trout, please. Phew! I love fish so much.
So, how do I know what to order? You just have to pause
before you purchase. Some grocery stores
and restaurants make it easy by color-coding their seafood choices. Green being the best,
yellow being good, and red being unsustainable, but sometimes it can be a big tricky. There are great websites and apps
that help you select seafood likeSeafood Watch, but you still have to ask some questions. Where is your salmon from,
and how it was caught? There are a lot of different types
of methods for fishing. There’s purse seining. There’s gillnetting. There’s longlining. There’s traps and pots. And, there’s trawling. If you’re taking a big net
and you’re dragging it along the seafloor, you’re going to pick up
a lot of other things. So there are methods of fishing that can sort of reduce the
number of fish that you don’t want. So it can reduce your bycatch, which means you’re having
less of an impact on all those other species. Don’t let it get overwhelming. Understanding how
marine ecosystems work can help you make smart choices. We have a tradition as humans of fishing what we say high in the food chain. It’s probably better
to feed on species lower in food chains that are closer to the base— anchovies, sardines, herring— because they’re smaller and they feed closer to the energy or at the source of energy
for the food web. They have larger population sizes, they’re smaller-bodied so they reproduce much more quickly, they have shorter lifespans,
faster turnover. With larger species, they have
lower rates of reproduction. They take longer to mature, so their population turnover
takes a longer time. So, as we harvest those species, it’s more difficult for them
to be replaced. Another really interesting reason
to feed lower down the food chain is becasue of pollution. And so as pollution
enters into the ocean, it enters the food chain
very close to the base. These are the very smallest
microscopic consumers or small animal consumers like clams
that are eating phytoplankton, and also picking up
small traces of, for example, heavy metals, and they have
small amounts in their bodies. As you move up the food chain
or out the food web, we have something called biomagnification. So you have one clam that has
a little bit of mercury in it, a stingray comes along, and a stingray will eat
maybe 50 clams in a day. Then you have a shark that comes along, and that shark might consume,
you know, in its lifetime, who knows how many stingrays. And then, of course, a human
consumes the shark. And so you end up with very
increasingly high and lethal doses as you move up the food chain. There are calculators that take into
account your gender, age and weight to determine how much
you can eat of a specific fish. But, in general, pregnant woman and young kid should
stay away from larger fish, like tuna. Should I stick with farmed fish then
like my trout here? I mean, I wish I could tell you yes but some of the farmed fish choices
are terrible for the ocean. It depends on the type of fish
that you’re farming. Salmon is farmed in these nets
that are in the open ocean. You have fish who are being fed a lot
in a small space, and then excreting or letting go, of that waste
and that’s landing on the sea floor, and getting carried by currents
to other places. There’s a lot of antibiotics
and a lot of treatment that the salmon are getting to make sure
that they don’t get sick and infected, so that’s another thing that’s getting
put into that environment. Tilapia is a species of fish that can be
grown sustainably through aquaculture. Because it’s not happening in the ocean, it’s happening in a closed tank, so you’re able to recirculate
and filter all this water, and it’s not getting out anywhere else. Farmed trout is also another type of fish that is considered to be
farmed more sustainably. So you can still order fish,
you just have to do your homework. Hey, you’re here. Join us! Do you guys know what you want? How are your clams harvested?
Are they dredged or raked? They’re raked. Great! Then I guess I’ll have
an order of the fried clams, please. And I’ll take the veggie burger. ♪ (outro music) ♪

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