Full Guide To Understanding Sustainable Seafood

Full Guide To Understanding Sustainable Seafood

When caught and farmed sustainably, seafood can be one of the best and most environmentally efficient sources of protein.

Sustainable seafood practices protect marine life and ecosystems, ensure labor is fair and ethical, strengthen the economy, and ensure consumer health. Prioritizing sustainable fishing practices will help ensure that ocean and sea creatures can thrive for generations to come. 

Protecting sea and ocean life becomes possible when the fishing industry and associated supply chains follow standardized environmental practices. When one area of the supply chain neglects sustainability, it can compromise the quality of the final product. 

Let’s explore more information on the seafood supply chain, learning all about sustainable fishing agriculture practices.

What is sustainable seafood?

Sustainable seafood refers to the practice of fishing in a way that protects marine life while also ensuring safe working conditions for every fisherman. This type of fishing involves methods that minimize harm to marine habitats and help to avoid overfishing. 

Sustainable fishing practices support the well-being of fishermen and improve their historically poor working conditions. Meanwhile, regulations protect marine ecosystems from overfishing and discourage fisheries from using methods that cause excessive harm and pollution. Fisheries may use certain tactics to meet high levels of supply and demand, but they result in poor working conditions and sick fish. 

In general, fish farming can have a low environmental impact, provided that certain conditions are met. Strong labor laws, proper waste management practices, and consideration for coastal habitats can allow for sustainable seafood harvesting.

Why is sustainability important?

Sustainability helps to improve human rights and labor conditions within the seafood supply chain. 

For businesses, promoting environmental and wildlife protection can also be beneficial. Consumers are increasingly demanding that their seafood be sourced sustainably and are willing to pay a premium for it. It’s a win-win for protecting the environment while boosting profits by meeting customer preference.

Here’s specifically why sustainable seafood is important in today’s world. 

Protects the environment

Sustainable fishing practices protect natural environments and marine wildlife—for both farmed and wild-caught fish.

Practices like overfishing, catching non-target species, and bottom trawling can cause significant harm to marine habitats. The right practices aim to minimize these impacts by using methods that limit unintended catches and reduce damage to the ocean floor.

Ensures safe working conditions

Producers, distributors, and retailers have a social responsibility to provide workers with safe and ethical working conditions. Reports of human trafficking and poor labor law in the seafood industry are not uncommon.

Following sustainable practices means that paying fair wages and promoting safe working conditions that comply with international and domestic labor regulations. 

Businesses can protect their community and manage the risk of human rights abuses in the seafood supply chain by using the Seafood Social Risk Tool

Contributes to economic stability

Purchasing environmentally-friendly products and labor requires an upfront investment, but the payoff for the economy and your business is great. Sustainable seafood products tend to have more value, as consumers are willing to pay a premium.

Moreover, sustainable practices can lead to long-term profits by minimizing the costs associated with environmental degradation and worker rights violations. These practices also create jobs and support local economies.

How sustainable is seafood in the United States?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that the United States is a global leader in sustainable fishing, citing that 90% of the businesses they monitor do not overfish. 

The United States is a great example of how to ethically use fish farms to sufficiently meet high market demand. With a science-based regulatory system in place, fish farming throughout America is sustainable and environmentally efficient. 

American fisheries generally adhere to regulations under the regional fishery management councils under the guidance of the NOAA, ensuring successful social and economic outcomes for fishing communities by preventing overfishing, enforcing sustainable trade practices, rebuilding depleted populations, minimizing bycatch, and preserving fish habitats. 

The NOAA helps to manage fisheries and provides support for repopulating harvest levels for generations to come. 

Examples of sustainable fishing practices

Here are some practices that fisheries might follow to protect marine ecosystems and avoid environmental degradation. 

  • Not overfishing: Overfishing is causing fish shortages and fish populations to decline rapidly, especially as demand for seafood continues to increase globally. Fisheries therefore must not catch faster than fish can reproduce.
  • Reducing carbon footprint: Fishing locally or selling farmed fish rather than wild-caught seafood reduces emissions.
  • Limiting bycatching: Fisheries should avoid catching non-targeted marine life by staying away from trawls, longlines, and gillnets. Instead, they should use more sustainable tools like pole and line, streamers, and turtle exclusion devices. 
  • Not using wild-caught fish as feed: Sustainable feed like fish scraps, insects, algae, and single-cell organisms should be used over wild-caught fish.
  • Avoiding disease: To avoid the waste buildup that causes diseases in fish farms, businesses should use wastewater management, land-based fish farming, and antibiotics. 
  • Stop farmed fish escapes: Fish that break free from their aquaculture farms (usually connected to natural water) can end up competing with wild populations for habitat, food, and spawning partners. 
  • Not fishing illegally: Fishing laws exist to protect seafood populations. However, experts estimate that 1 in 5 fish are caught illegally. This can cause irreversible damage to fish populations. 
  • Ensuring enforcement: Marine and nature conservation is only possible when there’s strict enforcement of sustainable practices. Together, supply chains can prevent pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing. 
  • Increasing traceability: Promote ecological resilience and environmental protection by tracing fish throughout the supply chain. Remember: the whole supply chain must adhere to the right practices for the final product to be considered sustainable.

Silo provides working capital to seafood businesses

Increase sustainability, productivity, and efficiency in your seafood business by securing hassle-free capital with Silo Capital.

Silo is dedicated to providing simple, cost-effective, and discreet access to working capital for seafood businesses. Unlike traditional banks and lenders, Silo prioritizes the needs of small and medium-sized businesses that need a boost to meet their needs. 

With Silo Instant Pay, for example, your business no longer has to wait for customers to pay their invoices. Silo will pay up to 90% of the invoice total in just 3 days, giving you the ability to put your money to work right away. Greater access to capital can help your business invest in sustainable management business operations and purchase product to keep up with demand.

If you need to quickly secure supplies to diversify offerings and take advantage of market opportunities, Silo Cash Advance is available to help you grow your bottom line. Silo Cash Advance gives businesses fast access to the funds necessary to make strategic investments and grow at the pace they want.

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