The Maritime Aquarium strongly encourages you to be a supporter of sustainable seafoods, and – along those lines – there was an interesting addition to the latest Seafood Watch consumer guide for the Northeast.
The Seafood Watch guides are handy little pocket guides produced as part of a program conducted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium aimed at helping consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. By monitoring species populations as well as how fisheries operate, Seafood Watch recommends which seafood products are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives” and which you should “Avoid.”
(The Maritime Aquarium is a partner in Seafood Watch.)
Seafood Watch updates its pocket guides twice a year. In the recently released Jan.-June 2015 guide for the Northeast, a seafood item has newly appeared: farmed seaweed.
It’s a “Best Choice.”
A highly nutritious sustainable food source, seaweeds have long been a staple in Asia but only lately are finding their way into restaurants and menus in America. (Actually, we’ve been eating it for years, as seaweed extracts are key ingredients in everything from ice cream, evaporated milk, fruit and cereal bars, pastries, cakes, chocolate powder and countless other products.)
Proponents of seaweed farming say that – aside from bringing a “sea vegetable” to a growing market – seaweed aquaculture can improve water quality by removing nitrogen and creating good marine habitat. Bigger picture, they say, seaweed aquaculture can create jobs and reduce our national seafood trade deficit.
Of course, one of the biggest proponents of seaweed aquaculture in Long Island Sound is longtime good friend of The Maritime Aquarium, UConn’s Dr. Charlie Yarish. (Here’s a story on Charlie.)
Seafood Watch says seaweed farming “has very few environmental impacts” and “is regarded as a highly sustainable practice, which makes it an excellent industry for expansion.”
So, with Seafood Watch’s blessings, eat your seaweed!
Keep track of what other seafoods to eat – and those to avoid – by picking up a Seafood Watch pocket guide in The Maritime Aquarium’s Cascade Café or in our “Go Fish” exhibit. Or download one here. (And get apps for your Android and iPhone too at www.SeafoodWatch.org.)
– Dave Sigworth, Maritime Aquarium publicist
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