Over 85% of global fisheries are at limit or exploited. What can be done to reverse this trend and drive a sustainable fish future? In this interview, Cheryl Dahle, the Project Director of Future of Fish, discusses her work in reversing this trend, as well as actions consumers can take to help.
Traceability is a key to better fish stock management. Up to 60% of seafood is mislabeled due to poor information and poor incentives around labeling. The two questions to ask to identify a sustainable fish are: 1) Is the fish caught using sustainable methods? and 2) is the fish coming from a fishery where the fish stock is healthy? Traceability is necessary to answer both of these questions.
Dahle is working with entrepreneurs to solve the traceability issue to enable solutions that are both easy and profitable. She is also working to enforce the supply chain to provide info to customers at the point of purchase.
Consumers have some information today to start practicing sustainable fish choices. Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) label is a good indicator. The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a guide and Seafood Watch app. The Blue Ocean Institute has an online guide as well as a FishPhone app. You can also text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question. Stay away from shrimp, both imported and farmed. Trawling is the typical way to catch shrimp and the by-catch is as high as 67 pounds of discarded ecosystem to 1 pound of shrimp. The Nature Conservancy also provides programs that consumers can participate in to learn more about healthy fisheries and help build a better fish future.
Connie Kwan is a Social Entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley, CA. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories about triple bottom line businesses and projects. Follow her on Twitter @ConnieMKwan and check back for more video interviews from SOCAP 2011.