We know that eating meat is not something we can do sustainably at the quantities we are currently consuming it for many reasons. The water needed to bring a meat dish to the table it disproportionate to what we have available, the soil that is compacted and degraded by cattle, as well as the feed they require at such a large scale, is contributing to carbon reaching their dangerously high levels in our atmosphere. And that’s not even mentioning the animal welfare issues that abound with the meat and dairy industries.
A common response to this conundrum is to switch to eating fish as a main source of protein, but you don’t need to go too far into investigating the sustainability of the seafood industry to discover another can of worms.
Where we used to live there was a sustainable seafood supplier so we had the great fortune of paying a little extra and buying the bulk of our seafood from them. Most do not have that advantage, so what then?
YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE
One place to begin is to talk to your fishmonger. Usually at least one of the people who work in a fish shop will know enough about where the produce comes from that they are able to advise you about their environmental impacts.
When I asked my local supplier on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, this was his advice.
TOP 3 SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD CHOICES FOR SYDNEY
His first pick was whiting because of the sheer numbers of them, and the fact that they are caught in nets where little else gets caught with them.
Secondly, he suggested Barramundi as it is farmed in lots which are not connected to the wider ocean so do not pollute in the same quantities.
His third suggestion was snapper as it is caught on lines which has less of an impact on other species.
His big no-nos are those at the top of the food chain – tuna, swordfish, sharks and bluefish. Taking these out of the ocean has detrimental ramifications on the ocean’s ecosystem.
The more of us that ask and buy ethically, the more food suppliers will focus on finding more ethical ways to provide for us. Ultimately, as with any food source, we must begin to concern ourselves more thoroughly with where our food is coming from and what impact it has on the wider environment if we are to adapt quickly and effectively to our current challenges. You’d be surprised how much our food providores are keen to have these conversations and help us to stay informed.
If you want more information on ethical eating Australian Ethical Super offers a free Guide on the subject that’s well worth a look.