The Importance of Sustainability Measures For Alaska Seafood

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Many people have heard about sustainable Alaskan seafood, but not nearly as many really know how or why sustainability is so important when it comes to the seafood industry. Consumers may specifically choose Alaskan seafood because they know it is guaranteed fresh, wild caught and sustainable, or simply because they prefer the look, taste, and texture of the available Alaskan products. Sometimes doing the right thing for the environment can be rewarding and delicious too! Sustainable Alaskan seafood is no health food or organic craze or trend, but a way of managing Alaskan fisheries that has been in place for decades.

Maintaining sustainable seafood is a team effort, from the biologists that study the actual seafood species, to the fisheries which must record catch data, to the politicians that keep sustainability laws in place, to the seafood lovers like you who pick fresh sustainable products! Conservation laws were written into the Alaska State Constitution in 1959 and continue to be the driving force behind one of the most environmentally sound fisheries in the world. As such, Alaskan fisheries are considered a model for the rest of the world to work towards when it comes to sustainability of natural resources in general, but especially when it comes to the seafood industry.

One example of a highly effective measure is the placement of an independent scientific observer on each fishing vessel for fisheries of certain species to record catch data and other vital statistics. Another is to simply throw back any specimen which is too small, or a female, both extremely important measures in the crabbing and shellfish industries, for example. The list goes on to include the implementation of harvesting seasons, limitations on equipment used, and limitations on allowed harvesting locations.

Why is it necessary to record catch data and keep such meticulous track of seafood industries? The simple answer is to prevent seafood species from going extinct! Consumption of seafood in the United States alone is a more than $50 billion industry, and that number seems to be increasing each year. In the early part of the 20th century for example, record catch data was coming back for the number of salmon harvested, and the salmon population took a huge blow. If the demand for seafood was entirely met, wild populations might soon cease to exist. That’s why it’s so important to maintain control and follow the excellent sustainability model set by Alaska’s fisheries.


Source by Allie Moxley

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