Sunday, July 26, 2009

Be conscious of what you put in your mouth a'ight?

About a year back, I questioned if we're depleting our protein source faster than we can say fish. Because of our disgustingly huge appetite for all things natural and swimming, our grandchildren may really think all fishes look like Nemo in decades down the road. Here's a snippet of a really interesting article which I'd like to share. Originally published in TimeOut KL, July issue: All you can't eat, pg 30.


“Eating a bluefin tuna is like eating a rhino,” claims WWF Hong Kong conservation director Dr Andy Cornish. Extreme as this might sound, the comparison is accurate. The world’s relentless demand for seafood has pushed many fish to the verge of extinction.

Humans rely on seafood as a source of nutrition and as a livelihood. According to London-based international charity the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), established by the WWF and Unilever in 1997, the diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. They estimate that 52 per cent of fish stocks are ‘fully exploited’, which means they are being fished at their ‘maximum biological capacity’.

Human consumption of fish has risen from 93.6 million tonnes in 1998 to 100.7 million tonnes in 2002. The MSC doesn’t want people to stop eating fish. Instead, it wants people to ensure consumers source their seafood from a well-managed fishery, which in turn guartantees a future for the industry and all those who depend on it for their livelihood. Shoppers who want to minimise the environmental and social consequences of eating fish should look out for MSC-certified products, which display a distinctive blue fish on the packaging.

Nevertheless, there are other ways to reduce your impact on the the world’s fish supplies. A few years back, WWF survey released a pocket-sized guide (visit to download it for free) that categorises 60 types of fish according to their sustainability. Alaskan Pacific salmon, North American black cod and Western Australian rock lobster (which are also availale MSC certified) are fine for consumption because they are not over fished. But shoppers should steer clear of Chinese shrimp, Hong Kong grouper and orange roughy (which share the endangered list with the bluefin tuna).

But with so little MSC-certified fish in our supermarkets, and even fewer restaurants serving it, the onus still lies with the consumer. But experts believe that even though change must come from the consumer, it is also the restaurant’s job to make sustainable food appealing and to supply their customers with information about the source of their seafood.

It is recently discovered that people are slowly becoming more proactive. In Hong Kong for example, it’s the younger Chinese generations that place around 60 per cent of the orders for MSC fish. Similarly in KL, with more youngsters refusing to consume shark’s fin, it’s a matter of time before we move our environmental consciousness up another notch.


(Bold mine)

Statistic from:

Also just to give you a clearer picture of where your fishes are coming from if you're living in Malaysia. Just remember, aquaculture good. Overfishing bad. We're not saying you should stop eating. But hey, keep your knack for exotic endeavours somewhere else perhaps?

Sparks and The Green Buddies support responsible seafood consumption.

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