by Aaron Zober
The Seafood Watch is renowned in the world of sustainable seafood for helping restaurants, distributors, and stores properly source their seafood products as well providing the public information about how to make the best decisions when looking for what types of fish to consume. Many people attending were familiar with Seafood Watch, having seen their pocket guide listing what seafood items are "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and which ones you should "Avoid." Ryan had those guides on hand, along with his presentation, which consisted greatly of people's questions and thoughts about his suggestions.
Ryan covered a wide variety of topics related to seafood and sustainability in his time at the meeting. Ryan emphasized that nothing is clear cut on these matters. Health is considered by many as an aspect of sustainability, but from hearing him speak, we learned that the most nutrient dense fish aren't always the most sustainable and vice versa.
Another issue of interest from Ryan's presentation was regarding tuna. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend not consuming tuna too often because of its high mercury content. But Ryan explained that tuna can be low in mercury when it's caught by pole.
Other topics that were covered by Ryan included aquaponics, whether farmed fish can ever be sustainable, the effect of nuclear fallout from Fukushima on the Pacific seafood supply, and the carbon footprint of fish vs. meat. Like all the areas he discussed, these are heavily debated matters that have the experts split on what is the right answer.
Ryan Bigelow's presentation was of great importance for our chapter because the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends that for optimal health people should consume seafood at least once a week. After Ryan's presentation, everyone in attendance got some food for thought next time they're at the market shopping for seafood. For more information or to get a copy of their pocket guide on sustainable seafood, contact Seafood Watch.