Thoughts and ideas from Wild American Seafood - Tommy's Seafood, Inc.
Sustainable Seafood and What It Means for Restaurants and Their Customers
July 16, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by Wild American Seafood - Tommy's Seafood, Inc.

“Sustainable” represents the latest buzzword in the environmental and even the social science realms. While many talk about creating sustainable movements, the meaning of the term can get lost. 

Sustainable means that companies, businesses, and others work together to ensure that natural commodities will remain available in the long term. Imagine Louisiana without crawdads and shrimp? Where would city cuisine be without oysters from New Orleans?

Since sustainability carries so much weight in the world of fisheries and those who rely on them, it’s important for producers and customers alike to understand the commitment required to maintain habitats and populations.

Why the US Is a Global Leader in Sustaining Fisheries

Because the fishing industry carries such vital importance in providing a ready supply of healthy protein and in its support of myriad local economies, the US has placed a priority on fishery health. Overfishing in any area can deplete or destroy populations of fish and shellfish. If allowed to continue, this could end fishing in some areas while also adversely affecting the natural balance.

To ensure that future generations still have access to plentiful stocks of fish, the federal government has implemented science-based wild fishery management plans.As explained by the NOAA, they have created a proven track record of ensuring responsible access by following these guidelines:

  • Prevent overfishing
  • Rebuild depleted fisheries
  • Reduce interaction with protected species
  • Identify and protect essential fish habitats
  • Consider the impact on communities with traditions of commercial fishing

Another part of the US plan for protecting wild fisheries lies in promoting the growth of aquaculture. The USDA maintains aquaculture research laboratories while promoting academic studies and providing grant funding to support the growth of selected operations. Most agree that wild caught fresh or frozen fish and shellfish have a superior taste. Farm raised products, however, also have great taste, are healthy to eat, reduce the burden carried by wild fisheries, and, importantly, provide entrepreneurship opportunities across the country.

The US also plays an important role internationally in helping to enforce conventions on overfishing in international waters.

Healthy for You, Healthy for the Environment

Maintaining access to the best quality of wild fish ensures that consumers and the environment will not miss their presence. For example, the Chesapeake Bay blue crab not only taste delicious with a bit of melted butter and a generous coating of spice, but they also provide a vital service in scavenging the bottom of the bay. If overfished, the overall environment could be affected beyond the disappearance of crab from regional tables. Similarly, regional protection practices have protected supplies of oysters around New Orleans.

While some countries and organizations have pioneered certifications and labels, their presence, or the lack thereof, can mislead. Many small operations employ sustainable practices, but cannot afford the fees to pay for the label. Others, such as some notorious South American operations, fulfill just enough criteria to earn the label but use destructive practices, such as overpacking aquaculture facilities. These practices threaten the surrounding environment while increasing the chance of fish carrying harmful microbes.

Those who have concerns should research the source of the fish or shellfish they eat. If American sourced, it has the greatest likelihood of coming from a fishing or aquaculture operation using best practices.

Our Commitment to You and Preserving Our Fisheries

At Tommy’s Seafood, we share with our industry the commitment to protecting the important fisheries in and around the Louisiana coastline. Our dedication to promoting best practices in our own operation means our customers can rest assured that when they buy from Tommy’s Seafood, they have contributed to responsible fishing. We all want these important traditions and delicious local seafood to remain available to Louisianans for generations to come.

We care about our customers and the deep fishing traditions of our area. To learn more, please reach out today by calling (504) 271-9735.