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Josh Fink Contemplates Problem with Sustainable Fishing

New information notes the challenges associated with distinguishing sustainable seafood from products caught using illegal fishing techniques. Fisherman Josh Fink comments on the new piece.
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A new article from The Huffington Post sheds light on the difficulties that are associated with denoting sustainable seafood, or products that have come from industry-regulated practices. While more consumers are searching for this type of sustainable seafood, it has become difficult to determine exactly what type of products fall into this category, thus making sustainable shopping a challenge. Fisherman Josh Fink explains that consumers must become educated when purchasing seafood. He also notes that the industry must work to create a better way of denoting sustainable products from those that come from illegal practices.

The article explains that in a survey completed by NPR, 3,000 individuals offered their opinions on seafood labeling. The results showed that 80 percent of Americans felt it was "important" or "very important" that seafood was caught using sustainable methods. The survey defined the term sustainable as "still being plentiful for future generations, and caught using methods that did minimal harm to other animals in the sea."

The Marine Stewardship Council label is often how consumers determine whether a product is sustainable, but even this form of information can be misleading. The MSC label was awarded to McDonald's Alaskan Pollack, even though some reports indicate that Pollack stocks are only "moderately healthy" and suffer from declining numbers.

This ambiguous definition of sustainable seafood becomes problematic for consumers. Josh Fink offers his thoughts on the matter, "While many purchasers have good intentions when it comes to buying fish, it's often difficult to know exactly what you're buying. It becomes even more difficult when you have little to no knowledge about the industry. This is why those who purchase seafood regularly should take some time to understand the idea of sustainability, in order to make more educated purchasing choices. At the same time, the industry needs to work to create a standard, thus making it easy for consumers who are interested in supporting healthy fishing practices."

Though the industry lacks a unifying standard that works to define exactly what products fall into the category of "sustainable," some companies are taking action to promote legal practices. Whole Foods announced last year that it would stop selling unsustainable fish, using the MSC as a guide. Unfortunately, while companies like Wal-Mart have also tried to embrace sustainable seafood, this has actually become a negative for the industry. Critics explain that the MSC has lowered its standards regarding what is classified as sustainable in order to keep up with Wal-Mart's massive demands.


Josh Fink is an outdoor enthusiast who spends much of his free time snowshoeing, canoeing, fishing, and hiking. He has also summited some of the world's most impressive peaks, including Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro.


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