What is Sustainable Seafood?
Sustainable seafood is seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of the harvested species and the well-being of the world’s beautiful oceans.
Most seafood comes from industrial farms where the aqua-life are packed into one small pond. Overcrowding leads to poor water quality, due to decreased oxygen levels. As such it is common for aqua-farmers to pump oxygen into the pools and to treat the water with chemicals. Often these unsustainably farmed fish are also treated with antibiotics and hormones which Even though it’s illegal, in reality, the waste and waste water, which is full of chemicals, is dumped into nearby waterways where it will inevitably affect mangrove forests and sea life.
As such it is important to support sustainable seafood farmers as not only is sustainable seafood better for the environment, it is also better for us!
Sustainable Local Seafood Farmers
- Sureerath Prawns – Sustainable Seafood! With certification Naturland which is a German organisation that provides certification for fair trade and organic products. Naturland is IFOAM accredited. According to their very informative website, no antibiotics and chemicals are used in their ponds. The prawn larvae are fed on organic diets of algae and artemia.
- ร้านคนจับปลา fisherfolk – This is a wonderful group of local fishermen who have banded together to sell their seafood directly. They don’t use formalene to preserve their seafood. They are frequently at local farmers markets and Root Garden, Thonglor. You can call them on 098 921 1284 to place an order or find out where they are next.
- Thai Spring Fish – Producer of frozen seafood. They are certified sustainable for their whole shell clams, which are hand caught and have a Friend of the Sea certification. Their skip jack and yellow fin tuna are also Friend of the Sea certified.
- Global Frozen Food (Thailand) – Producer of frozen seafood. They are certified sustainable for their yellow fin tuna and skip jack by Friend of the Sea.
Restaurants that serve Sustainable Seafood
- Sustaina – Not only do they have an organic farm, they also serve sustainable seafood at their Sukhumvit Soi 39 restaurant. Owner of Sustaina, Ara Takayuki has hand-selected fisheries from Rayong, Hua Hin and Phuket to supply sustainable seafood for both his frozen food line and his restaurant.
- The Oyster Bar Bangkok – Run by Bill Marinelli a marine biologist and a champion of the local sustainable seafood scene where he serves a large sustainable seafood selection.
Sustainable Seafood Standards and Certification Bodies
- One of the global standards for Sustainable Fisheries is the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)’s sustainability standards. All seafood that is certified to meet these standards, carries the logo on the right.According to this map published on the MSC website, there are no MSC certified fisheries in Thailand. Fingers crossed this changes in the future. As such when shopping in Thailand, you may see this logo on seafood that is imported, rather than local seafood. SGS (Thailand) is a private company that certifies Fisheries to the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)’s sustainability standards.
- Another global standard for Sustainable Fisheries are the ASC Aquaculture Stewardship Council sustainability standards. All seafood that is certified to meet these standards, carries the logo on the right. On their website you can find a list of certified farms. Seems as though our neighbour vietnam has a lot of certified sustainable fisheries with a variety of aquaculture, but Thailand has none. According to their website, auditor training sessions have been carried out in Thailand in conjuction with WWF-Thailand, and as such, we can expect sustainable seafood carrying this label within the next year. I will believe it when I see it. 🙂 As such, when shopping in Thailand, you may see this logo on seafood that has been imported, rather than locally farmed seafood.
What can you do?
- Ask the restaurant owner or chef, where they get their seafood from. If their seafood source is unsustainable, or if they have no idea where their seafood came from, then avoid ordering seafood.
- Stop eating endangered fish. “Snowfish”, also known as Chilean seabass or Patagonian toothfish, is an endangered species. Snowfish served in Thailand is caught illegally and is not regulated by the Thai FDA or customs department.
- Stop eating farmed salmon. The salmon you see on most menus around Bangkok is unsustainably farmed. Wild Salmon in Bangkok is exorbitantly expensive and difficult to come by. If a restaurant or hotel was serving Wild Salmon, it would most likely be advertised as it is so much more expensive.
- Say no to GMO salmon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AquAdvantage_salmon
If consumers stop ordering unsustainable seafood, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants will stop buying it and serve and sell fish that is more sustainable. What you choose to buy can help make a difference.