I recently came across an article about 'seaganism' - a vegan diet with seafood allowed. Doesn't seem much different to the 'pescatarian' diet to me, which is a vegetarian diet which also allows seafood on top of dairy and eggs, so basically only restricting meat consumption. I don't get it.
I admit, or better confess, to have been a vegetarian for many years myself, with some flexibility whenever I returned home for short holidays, as my family found it too hard to comprehend, understand and even allow me, so had to close an eye. For various reasons, I have not been a vegetarian for a couple of years, and so I want to reassure all that this is not going to be a 'judgemental' post like many we see on the web nowadays. You eat meat, fish, dairy and eggs? So do I! However I am constantly trying to understand how to make this more sustainable. For example by eating less of all of the above, i.e. only one of them once a day, or have one or multiple vegan day a week.
But back to the seafood - why is this old-school concept that eating from the sea is so sustainable still alive? We know well by now (or should) that the sea does not provide us with unlimited resources. Yes, is vast and extremely deep, and there is still so much that we don't know about it - yet we are depleting many fish stocks and we are fishing down the food web.
And what about aquaculture? This is often considered a sustainable choices, farming fish so we don't deplete stocks.... but funny enough most don't realise that some fish feeds from aquaculture actually come from the meat industry, or we fish small fish (such as anchovies and sardines, which make for pretty great human food!) in quantities that are not as sustainable as many think! Not to talk about antibiotics, and the risk of farmed fish escaping and changing local gene pools, or even becoming invasive species.. There are all sort of ecological and environmental hazards associated with aquaculture.
But - as you know, the aim of this blog is to provide some solutions, not just reiterate the problems.
So here is how I try to be as sustainable as possible while eating seafood:
- shop local. Find a local fishmonger, or a fishmarket. If you are lucky enough to live by the sea, go directly to the fishing boat when they come in, you will buy what is local and in season and support the local economy.
- Go small scale. The smaller the boats the lower the damage in my opinion and the greater the chance to help some fishermen and their family instead of funding some big company.
- Variation is key. Try different fish, maybe some crustaceans, molluscs. Don't always eat the same things. Try something new, it's exciting to try out new recipes and new flavours, and you spread the
- eat less of it
- Get a whole fish, understand where your food comes from. Teach your kids. Take them to the market or to a fishing town/fishing harbour. I am a strong believer that the fish fingers culture and ready frozen fish fillets have taken us away from remembering where our food comes from, what our food is and was.
- use the scraps. If you buy whole fish, head and bones can make great fish stock that you can freeze and use for other recipes later!
- And moreover, buy only what you need, and realise that often less is more (this goes for everything...)
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