What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainable seafood is a term that has different meanings depending on who is using it and the parameters used. Since Kodiak’s economy is heavily dependent on our seafood industry, the sustainability of our fisheries resources has a very personal meaning that spans generations, past, present and future.

Since we rely on the ability of our fishermen to catch fish now and into the future, sustainability means that the various fisheries are managed using best practices supported by strong scientific research to help control harvest levels and the timing of fishing seasons.

For the fishermen, sustainability requires the maximum utilization of the resource and harvest practices that are consistent with perpetuating the fishery. Several factors apply to good fishing principles such as staying within harvest guidelines for the target species, avoiding bycatch (taking of secondary or prohibited species), the retention of all product landed and minimal impact on the ocean.

Consumers are constantly barraged with terms like “natural,”“wild,” “organic,” “healthy” and “sustainable.” If you are interested in sustainability, when purchasing seafood consider the following:

  • What is the strength of the population of the species where it is harvested?
  • Are the species managed responsibly by state or federal agencies?
  • What catch method is used (i.e. trawl, longline, pot, jig, seine)?
  • Does the catch method have an impact on the ocean?
  • Does catching the “target” species result in unintended by-catch of prohibited species?
  • What time of the species reproduction cycle are the fish harvested?

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has a wonderful primer on how sustainability works in Alaska – Sustainability in Plain English.

At Kodiak Fish Market, we have been involved in developing national and regional fisheries management policies for the past several years and would be glad to discuss the how our Kodiak fisheries are managed to maximize sustainability. Call anytime (907-942-4650).