One of the most impactful steps we can take in our personal lives to support the earth’s oceans is to eat more sustainably. The problem is, when it comes to making ocean-friendly food choices, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there that make it difficult to understand what the best choices are for us.
As a fishmonger in New Orleans that is committed to providing fresh, flavorful fish and shellfish from Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf Coast, we pride ourselves on educating our customers about the industry today. That’s why we feel it is important to try and clear up some of the confusion about eating seafood sustainably.
It’s true, organic produce often costs more than non-organic fruits and veggies and grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs tend to have higher price tags than conventional meat and eggs. However, this eco-cost doesn’t always apply to seafood.
When it comes to seafood, it depends more on the type of fish and shellfish that you purchase and where you buy it from. A lot of sustainable fish is wild-caught and isn’t necessarily more difficult to source than seafood that’s farm-raised. Also, one of the most expensive types of seafood in the US is shrimp – and 90 percent of it is farm-raised! (If you want to enjoy wild-caught shrimp, we have it at Tommy’s Seafood, Inc.!)
When buying seafood, look at the prices for the different types of fish and seafood. Instead of visiting your local fishmonger or the seafood section at your market and picking a certain type of fish for a recipe you have planned, consider choosing the type of wild seafood that is on sale that day. This way, you can have your cake and eat it, too, enjoying incredible seafood that’s eco-friendly and budget-friendly.
Also, keep in mind the quality of what you’re buying. Paying a little more may be worth it for your needs, whether you’re cooking for your family or looking for a fresh catch for your restaurant, because of the value of eating delicious seafood.
Fish farms have some serious issues, including the harm they can cause to the wild ocean surrounding them and the use of disinfectants, antibiotics, and other substances you certainly don’t want your food exposed. But today, there are fish farms that are working very hard to live up to eco-friendly practices. If you do purchase farm-raised seafood, make sure you know where it’s coming from and what practices the aquaculture company follows.
Also, while a lot of fish farms aren’t exactly good for the environment today, it’s possible in the future. As more solutions are explored, we’ll see fish farms that are able to successfully raise fish without harming the ocean’s ecosystems. For example, the Velella Project in Hawaii uses unanchored drifter pens, which are kept far from reefs and coral. The fish are fed a healthy, sustainable diet that consists of fishmeal and oil. They never use antibiotics or pesticides.
Whether your seafood is fresh or frozen doesn’t really have anything to do with sustainability. In fact, by freezing a fresh catch, fishmongers are able to preserve the taste and quality of the seafood. Freezing also makes it possible for those who don’t live nearby the water to enjoy the best seafood the world’s oceans have to offer.
At Tommy’s Seafood, we use a specialized freezing method to lock in peak flavor and texture.
To try out any of our sustainable, high-quality seafood options, reach out to us today.