Whole Foods Market has launched the first in-store color-coded sustainability-rating program for wild-caught seafood and announced it will phase out all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013. The partnership with Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium makes Whole Foods Market the first national grocer to provide a comprehensive sustainability rating system for wild-caught seafood.
Still wondering where all the oil from the BP spill ended up? To the chagrin of those who would prefer to think it magically disappeared, scientists on a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico have uncovered a more unsettling answer in the form of a layer of oily sediment on the seafloor, stretching for dozens of miles in all directions from the blowout site.
Joye, aboard the Research Vessel Oceanus, is part of a team that left port on Aug. 21 to ascertain what happened to the more than four million barrels of oil that gushed from BP’s uncapped well. She describes seeing layers of oily material, sometimes up to more than two inches thick, covering the bottom of the seafloor. Right below it she finds much more typical seafloor mud in a layer that also includes recently dead shrimp, worms and other invertebrates.
Like eel? Tuna? Catfish?
You might want to find some new entrees. The Food and Water Watch’s Smart Seafood Guide for 2010, published this week, warns that many such popular fish and seafood are simply not safe to eat, while others are not ethical to eat. Some marine food sources present both health and ethical problems.
On one hand, the marine mammal activist is counting down the hours until Sunday, when he may win an Oscar for his role in the documentary The Cove– a compelling and gruesome expose about the secret slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
The more you learn about your carbon-footprint, the more you’ll realize that it’s weighed down as much by food choices as what car you drive and your home energy program. Food production comes with a whole cornucopia of green issues, from pesticide use to deforestation to world transportation.
No food issue, though, is more important than choosing the right fish. Seafood merits special attention, because the fish varieties that we’re consuming could be on the brink of survival. Ocean ecosystems are being wrenched apart by the overfishing of certain species and the destructive fishing techniques used to harvest others.
Greenpeace followed up the release this week of its latest Carting Away the Oceans scorecard with a friendly and fishy demonstration outside Trader Joe’s stores in San Francisco.
Greenpeace members, two of whom dressed as orange roughy and others who parodied Trader’s by wearing Hawaiian shirts mimicking the store’s trademark uniform, handed out information on why its important to select and buy seafood that can be replenished and also asked prospective customers to sign petition postcards to privately held grocery company.
When you fish for seafood at your local grocery, it can be difficult to tell whether you are supporting sustainable fishing practices.
Was the snapper you selected caught using legal, sustainable fishing practices? Should you even be buying it? Is the Chilean Sea Bass you just purchased on the “Red List” of jeopardized marine species? Does the grocery you’re patronizing buy seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council?
Given the enormity of climate change, it’s not always easy to calculate how we individuals can make a contribution that matters. In honor of World Oceans Day (June 8), the Nature Conservancy has assembled a list of a few concrete ways we can help heal, or at least minimize the damage to, our marine world.
The list is a testament to our connectedness here on planet Earth — did you realize that the nitrogen fertilizer you dump on the yard could be part of the pollution overpowering streams and rivers; winding up in the ocean where it creates algal “blooms” that starve marine life of oxygen? Ah, right. That’s not what you were thinking of when you cracked open the bag of weed-and-feed. Heavy stuff, yes, but the sort of thing we humans need to think on. That lovely green turf comes with an environmental price tag — unless and until you find other ways to feed the lawn, like using lower nitrogen-content organic food.
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a study showing an increase in mercury emissions from human sources is affecting the fish population in the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists had predicted a 50 percent increase in mercury levels in the Pacific Ocean by 2050, if mercury emission rates continue as projected. Human contribution to mercury pollution includes coal burning power plants and waste incineration. The water sampled for this study — released May 1 — shows that the mercury levels in 2006 were already approximately 30 percent higher than the same samples in the 1990′s.
For most of us, walking into a seafood store is an exercise in both ignorance and hope: we’re ignorant of what’s available but we hope we’ll leave with what we want. We all know fish come in two colors: the red one is salmon and the rest are white. Here is what you should know about fish:
Mark Musatto, a partner at Airline Seafood in Houston, says “There are three basic feelings I want every customer to have when they enter my store: they should feel, smell and see the freshness; notice that fresh fish has a sheen and a translucency and I want customers to tell me how they plan to cook their fish and we can talk about the best fish for that method.