Seafood is a delicacy that we all love to indulge in. Well, except for those who are allergic. Then again, there’s that small percentage of people who eat stuff they’re allergic to anyways. Look at who’s blogging this post.
However, as much as we all love taking that live crab or lobster home and cooking it alive, (imagine if YOU were boiled to death. How would you like that?), how does it affect the Earth?
As consumers, we just eat and eat and eat, without dwelling on the implications of what we put into our bellies. Where do we get it? What did people have to do in order to obtain this resource? Luckily for you, we’ll look into that today.
When eating seafood, we don’t ever think if the clams, grouper, jack, lobster, mackerel, oysters, and shrimp are in good quality and safe to eat, right? Once you’re in the restaurant, you assume the seafood to be in good condition. And they are!
Thanks to fishermen and growers who use complex methods and technologies to support sustainable seafood and aquaculture, we are able to safely eat seafood. Seafood processors and distributors must maintain freshness and product integrity because consumers (us) demand high quality seafood that’s delicious as well.
As good as seafood is, there are many complications. The pesticides and antibiotics used to control diseases in fish pens can spread into the environment thus affecting the local species. The water, earth, and organisms are impacted. The water and earth may be polluted and the chemical make-up of an organism, whether it be a marine or land animal, could be affected.
Unfortunately, natural habitats have been destroyed to pave way for breeding various kinds of fish, shrimp, etc. For example, many mangrove forests have been cut down and replaced with ponds for fish farming. Unfortunately, coastal communities often depend heavily on the services of the mangrove forests. After a few years of intensive, prosperous farming, the accumulation of waste products and chemical pollution force the farmers to abandon their ponds. Eventually, these same farmers move to a different mangrove forest location, and repeat the process. This devastates the local environment, which includes all of the Earth’s spheres: the hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere. It could also affect the cryosphere, in a less direct effect, known as global warming.
Seafood’s Awesomeness, or the Lesser of It
Seafood has given a beautiful light onto the value of life. It’s seaFOOD after all! Then again, before seafood became food, the organisms had a role in their local environments. They all gave some form of contribution to the ecosystem around them. However, the endangerment of these organisms have much dire consequences than the lack of food. Since species have specific roles in ecosystems, the endangerment of one species will topple the balance and devastate the functioning environment. Lack of food? Yes. But that should be the least of our problems; we have to consider the environment as well.
Conserve the Sea…food!
How can we conserve the species we eat as well as the environment? Well, for one, good farming practices will produce seafood in a way that has very little impact on the environment. As consumers, we play an important role in shaping oceanic health. By asking a very simple question at the grocery store or restaurant, we can help shape the demand and supply of fish that have been caught or farmed with environment-friendly methods.
Let’s go eat seafood responsibly!