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I personally do not eat seafood. The statistics on how quickly our ocean is being depleted are alarming.
Unlike farm animals, fish populations are not created or controlled by humans. Even farm-raised fish impact the supply of wild fish; as discussed in the previous section.
Another huge reason I do not eat seafood is pollution. Our oceans are becoming extremely polluted, and the mercury levels in fish are at an all time high.
Mercury is very hazardous to children and unborn babies. Mercury can cause severe health problems in adults, and can stay in your system for a very long time.
A study conducted in 2009 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 1 in 40 women of childbearing age have mercury levels in their blood high enough to potentially cause health problems for an unborn baby.
If you eat seafood, the first step is to be sure to stay away from eating fish that contain high levels of mercury.
Remember to never eat seafood while pregnant, and never feed seafood to a young child.
Click on the following link for a printable guide to mercury levels in fish from Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC):
The second important consideration when eating seafood is sustainability. While I am personally skeptical that there is such a thing as sustainable seafood, it is important to know that some seafood is more harmful than others.
Avoid farm-raised fish, because of their impact on the environment. Wild is always better, but it is also important to consider where it came from.
Eating Alaskan seafood in New York City is not a very sustainable choice when you consider all of the jet fuel it took to bring the fish to your table. Local is always the best choice whenever available to reduce your carbon footprint.
It is also important to know which fish are sustainable, and which fish to avoid.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide is a wonderful resource. They offer free downloadable guides, as well as printable guides that fold neatly to fit into any wallet.
Choose a region and print or download your guide here:
Remember to let your favorite restaurants know that sustainable seafood is important to you.
Also keep an eye out for the Certified Sustainable Label in restaurants and grocery stores.
The Marine Stewardship Council certifies seafood that is caught or raised in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner.
If you notice a fish on a restaurant menu that is classified as overfished and should be avoided, express your concern to the restaurant.
Any seafood that is labeled organic is best avoided because that usually means that it was farm-raised.