News 4 at 4

Jul 24, 2012 7:20 PM

Green Living: Eat sustainable seafood to help protect our oceans

TUCSON - Today on "Green Living" on News 4 Tucson at 4 p.m., Tishin Donkersley stopped by with some disturbing facts on ocean pollution, and some tips on eating sustainable seafood.

Below is information from Tishin's discussion with News 4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor:

Plastics bags and products, and trash have found their way into our waterways and into our ocean. Sources estimate that plastics comprise up to 90 percent of floating marine debris. On a global scale, people have thrown so much trash into the ocean and waterways that we five garbage piles, known as gyras, estimated as twice the size of Texas, floating in the ocean polluting our waters and harming our sea life. The biggest culprit - plastics - and it's killing our sea life.

-An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.

-Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources.

-Plastic ends up creating a toxic environment for our oceans, lakes and eventually wildlife by releasing chemicals used to make the product into the water.

-According to the Surfrider Foundation, about 100 billion plastic check out bags are used each year in the United States and less than 9% are recycled each year.

-"About 44 percent of all seabirds eat plastic, apparently by mistake, sometimes with fatal effects. And 267 marine species are affected by plastic garbage-animals are known to swallow plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish in mid-ocean," according to a 2008 study in the journal Environmental Research by oceanographer and chemist Charles Moore, of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation."

Our ocean is a closed system, meaning, there just isn't more water. Hear are five actions we can take to keep our precious water supply clean and protect our sea animals and seafood population.

1. Replace the plastic bags with reusable
2. If you see trash on the beach, pick it up! Join in a beach clean up!
3. Don't dump any liquids into the oceans or waterways
4. Join Surfrider's campaign "Rise Above Plastics"
5. Choose sustainable seafood

Eating sustainably means to choose seafood populations that are not threatened or overfished, are harvested sustainably, caught legally, and from a fishery that doesn't attempt to reduce it's population adversely or affect the impact on surrounding wildlife - meaning bycatch and destroying the environment in which the population lives (e.g. bottom trawling).

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) reports that, today, approximately 950 million people around the world rely on fish as their primary source of protein, and over 200 million people consider it their principal livelihood.

Before you patron a restaurant where you plan to eat seafood, support sustainable fishing practices with your dollar and choose seafood that are sustainable for your region. If you are planning on purchasing seafood products, look for the MSC label indicating that the seafood has been harvested sustainably. A great guide to use is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pocket guide or download the Seafood Watch app for your smart phone to check out which seafood is best.

To download a Pocket Guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch® program, visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx. For more information on their iPhone and Android apps, click here.

Other ways to support sustainable fish practices:
• Support retailers that sell sustainable fish
• Eat only fish that are raised/fished sustainably
• Request sustainable fish from your favorite restaurants
• Support ocean conservation organizations

To learn more about eating sustainably, read the most recent article about sustainable fish practices at www.greenlivingaz.com. We also have a sustainable recipe from Chef Chris Singleton from Agustin Brasserie - Trout Muniere, Frites and a Caper Butter Sauce - to get you started!

Pictured: Fishing net caught around sea lion, courtesy THE GOOD ENVIRONMENT

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