Rethink Seafood

Photo by Sura Nualpradid

I ate some environmentally-friendly shrimp last night from a farm in Thailand that has changed its practices to be more sustainable. Normally, I don’t eat shrimp. Bottom trawling for wild shrimp destroys the seafloor and catches a lot of turtles, fish, and mammals as incidental catch. Shrimp farms are often constructed in mangrove forests and discharge wastewater into the healthy surrounding habitat. I like shrimp, but I don’t love the taste so much that I can’t give it up – I prefer wild salmon over shrimp any day. I’m not sure people think about beef, poultry, or seafood this way yet; but we need to. And a big congrats to those of you that do think about it this way already.

Here’s a recent Barton Seaver TED talk summing up the above thought in a much more elegant way.

Here are some favorite quotes from the talk:

We have eco-friendly shrimp. We can make them; we have that technology. But we can never have any eco-friendly all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet.

Vegetables: they might yet save the oceans.

We’ve seen an image of our blue planet, our world bank. But it is more than just a repository of our resources; it’s also the global geography of the communion we call dinner. So if we all take only what we need, then we can begin to share the rest, we can begin to celebrate, we can begin to restore. We need to savor vegetables. We need to savor smaller portions of seafood. And we need to save dinner.

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