What Does It Mean to Buy Sustainably Caught Fish?

What Does It Mean to Buy Sustainably Caught Fish?

For thousands of years, we’ve been fishing in rivers and oceans to provide for our families and communities. In this modern time, we’re a far cry away from the spears and handheld nets of historic fishers. Nowadays, massive fishing trawlers crawl the seas, depleting the wild fish communities and causing significant concern for the environment.

If you were around to remember the news of dolphins caught in tuna nets, you would know why there’s a rising demand for sustainable fish to eat over the years. Nobody wants to eat fish that is caught in a way that causes harm to other animals. Environmental concerns like this is why we pledged for our Graig Farm organic fish box delivery to only contain fish caught responsibly.

What are Sustainable Fishing Methods?

Sustainable fish are simply fish that have been farmed or caught using sustainable fishing methods that limit the amount of harm done to the environment. It is a practice that requires heavy regulation in order to be labelled as sustainable.

For example, not using nets that excessively bycatch protected species, as in the case of dolphins caught in tuna nets. These fishers will use different nets and fishing methods to ensure that the sustainable tuna they bring to your table has done as little harm as possible.

In some cases, it is often more sustainable to farm the fish instead of catching it wild, such as in the case of Graig Farm organic trout. This can allow the wild population to thrive, whilst we still get our favourites in our weekly fish box delivery.

With sustainable fishing, whether it is a wild capture or farmed organic salmon, it's brought to your plate in a way that is conscious of the environment. To summarise, sustainable fishing methods should:

  • Reduce overall impact on the environment
  • Contribute towards rebuilding depleted wild fish populations
  • Catch wild fish at a rate that does not decline the population over time
  • Reduce unnecessary bycatch of protected species
  • Ensure minimum disruption to natural food chains and underwater habitats

Why Commit to Sustainable Fishing?

Solving overfishing, harm to protected species, and sea pollution from fishing boats is as complex as the ecosystems we are trying to protect. Whilst farming was introduced as a way to reduce the need for wild fishing, it can be costly to farm certain species.

Blanket bans are also not an ideal solution. Fishing communities like the indigenous populations of Canada and Greenland depend heavily on their ability to fish in order to make a living. To cut off their livelihood could end their community, or potentially drive them to fish illegally.

But this isn’t an unresolvable situation. Instead of the blind pursuit of profit, commercial fishing companies are fully capable of changing their practices to reduce environmental impact.

By shunning fish caught unsustainably, whilst seeking out responsibly farmed organic salmon, you are telling the fishing industry that you will not settle for lax attitudes towards the environment. That is what it means to buy sustainable fish.

What are Some Sustainable Fish to Eat?

One of the most sustainable fishes to eat in the UK is farmed organic trout. These live naturally in freshwater ponds, which makes it very easy to farm them. This fish also makes a great tasting substitute for wild organic salmon, where the wild population is suffering from overfishing.

Of course, we source farmed organic salmon from farms on the coast of Ireland. We’ve picked farms that give priority to the health and welfare of their fish and the environment. The farms are stocked with different generations of salmon, meaning we can supply it all year round in our fish box deliveries.

Another great fish that can be farmed and fished sustainably is the humble king prawn. Normally, these are fished by bottom trawling in the wild, which is harmful to fish habitats and often results in bycatches of protected species. However, prawns can be farmed fairly sustainably or caught without the need to trawl.

At Graig Farm Organics, we ensure all our fish is either caught sustainably, or farmed with the welfare of the fish and the environment in mind. If you are looking for foods that are better for the environment, browse our range of award-winning organic produce, high quality meat and fish boxes, and special offers.

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  • Jonathan Rees