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Sweltering summer days are the best days to enjoy cold seafood dishes. Whether you’re enjoying a refreshing ceviche, a juicy shrimp cocktail, a healthy lobster salad, or some fresh sashimi, look for the Ocean Wise logo to make sure it’s part of the conservation program.

The Vancouver Aquarium created Ocean Wise in 2005 to educate seafood consumers with the most current scientific information on issues caused by unsustainable fishing practices. These fishing practices raise major environmental issues, such as overfishing, bycatch, and oceanic habitat degradation. Since 2005, it has partnered with over 650 restaurants, markets, and food services in North America.

With almost 80% of the world’s fisheries being overexploited or fully exploited, the topic of sustainable seafood is more important than ever. 90% of the large fish have been caught, meaning that only 10% of species of sharks, tuna, swordfish, and other large fish remain. As a strategy to combat further exploitation, Ocean Wise’s list of recommended species is based on four criteria.

  1. The fishery stock of recommended species must be abundant and resilient to exploitation.
  2. As bycatch is a major environmental issue, the fishing practices must be sustainable as to not impact other vulnerable species.
  3. The fishery must be well-managed with a comprehensive plan backed by current scientific research.
  4. Fishing practices must be sustainable to minimize impact on the oceanic habitat and ecosystem.

According to a four-year study published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, fisheries around the globe are expected to collapse by 2048. It’s clear that the only solution against this accelerating trend of overfishing is to buy sustainable seafood. As seafood becomes scarcer, the prices are bound to skyrocket exponentially well before 2048 arrives, so seafood may be off the table sooner than we predict. Help our ocean, eat sustainably, and look for the Ocean Wise logo.

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