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It is getting harder and harder to find fish that we can ethically eat. 90% of the world’s largest fish have been wiped out of the oceans. Tuna is not only in terrible trouble, it is also contaminated with mercury. (see Slow Death by Rubber Duck). Sea bass populations are being rapidly destroyed.  The great cod and salmon fisheries have collapsed.  Aquaculture is essential, but many farms cause direct and indirect destruction of wild stocks. Can a responsible person still eat fish?

Yes, sometimes, says Dan Barber’s Ted Talk. Farms on land can be sustainable, producing ethical, ample, delicious food;  so, it turns out, can aquaculture. At least in Spain. Can anyone point us to a Canadian equivalent?

Several organizations provide information about sustainable fishing principles, and there are excellent consumer guides for choosing sustainable seafood.  For example, SeaChoice lists best choices of wild and farmed fish, as well as fish to avoid altogether, both for sustainability and health reasons (e.g., concerns about elevated PCB or other contaminants). (www.seachoice.org

– click on link to Canada’s Seafood Guide).  The David Suzuki Foundation’s State of the Catch – A Professional’s Guide to Sustainable Seafood provides detailed sustainability ratings for many seafood species, as well as toxicity concerns. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/files/Oceans/StateoftheCatch.pdf

[i] Jenkins DJA, Sievenpiper JL, Pauly D, Sumaila UR, Kendall CWC, Mowat FM.  Are dietary recommendations for the use of fish oils sustainable? CMAJ 2009 March 17;180(6):633-37

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