At this point, most of us have heard of sustainable agriculture—a set of farming practices that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities. From the sustainable ag movement grew community supported agriculture, also known as CSA. For over 25 years, CSAs have provided a way for everyday consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from farmers. Not only do CSAs allow farmers to get to know people in their communities on an individual level, they also offer great opportunities for locals to indulge in ultra-fresh foods while being exposed to new fruits, vegetables, and cooking methods. (I’ll never forget my first bounty of fresh mint, and consequently, some truly epic homemade mint chimichurri.)
Following the sustainable ag and CSA movement, a new term is becoming more ubiquitous across US coastal communities: sustainable fishing. Unsurprisingly, the definition of sustainable fishing isn’t too different than that of sustainable agriculture: According to the Marine Stewardship Council, sustainable fishing simply means leaving enough fish in the ocean, respecting habitats, and ensuring people who depend on fishing can maintain their livelihoods.
Why is sustainable fishing important?
High demand for seafood and advances in technology have led to unsustainable fishing practices—like purse seining and longlining—that continue to deplete fish populations around the world. Purse seine fishing utilizes a large net to herd fish together and envelop them by pulling the net’s drawstring. Longlining is an unsustainable fishing practice in which a 62-mile line with thousands of baited hooks is dragged behind a boat.
Yes, both purse seining and longlining are efficient and profitable fishing methods, resulting in hundreds and even thousands of fish caught at a time. But doing this consistently leaves few fish left in the ocean, and when fish populations are small, they cannot easily replenish themselves through reproduction—a cycle known as overfishing. Furthermore, unsustainable fishing practices like purse seining and longlining can also result in bycatch, the incidental capture of non-target species like dolphins, turtles, and seabirds. But thanks to sustainable fishing practices, we can eat delicious seafood and protect our oceans.
How we employ sustainable fishing practices
Here at Federated Seafood Co., we employ sustainable fishing practices by catching each fish one at a time by rod and reel off the Oregon coast. And in an effort to prevent overfishing, we adhere to strict Oregon state regulations and will begin fishing for Chinook (king) salmon once the season officially opens again in 2021. Captain Sam Shragge handles each fish with the utmost care the moment they come out of the water, icing them right away. We truly believe that better handling results in a better quality meal for the consumer. And there’s no denying that thoughtful, sustainable fishing practices result in better quality oceans.
In the spirit of Chinook salmon season, we raise our forks to a healthier Pacific, and sustainable salmon fillets topped with that truly epic homemade mint chimichurri.