By creating regional networks of Seafood Smart champions, the National Aquarium invites consumers to join us in making sustainable seafood choices.
The world’s seafood supply can seem deceptively limitless.
Today's consumers can find fresh fish, shellfish and other types of seafood at their local grocery. They can dine out and find salmon or lobster on a restaurant's menu. And many Chesapeake Bay residents look forward to digging into that first bushel of steamed crabs each season. From a consumer standpoint, it's hard to see where there's a problem. Seafood options are readily available and easily accessed, providing the illusion that the ocean's bounty is limitless.
The demand for seafood and the way in which it's harvested is threatening the supply. The global fishing fleet is two to three times larger than what the ocean can sustainably support, and 70 percent of the world's fisheries are exploited, overexploited or have already suffered a collapse. Unless we adopt sustainable seafood practices, stocks of all species currently fished for food are predicted to collapse by 2048.
As a conservation organization situated in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium feels a responsibility to lead change in our own backyard—which is why we’re taking steps to engage, educate and empower. From hook to cook and chef to consumer, Seafood Smart is a model program building sustainable seafood solutions within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and beyond.
Change Starts on the Water
We’re establishing a strong network of watermen and aquaculture farmers committed to seafood sustainability. By collaborating with harvesters, we’re building solutions and incentivizing sustainable practices for the future of our wild-caught and farm-raised fish and shellfish. While change begins on the water, it doesn’t end there. Seafood Smart will engage all stakeholders, from harvest to plate, to influence sustainable seafood practices.
Increased awareness of seafood sustainability issues is necessary to secure supply chain transparency measures. We’re committed to a strong understanding of Chesapeake watershed-based sourcing, the improvement of proactive policies and the adoption of regional baseline transparency. Local chefs and restaurateurs also play a critical role in this movement. Seafood Smart will educate stakeholders and encourage them to advocate for sustainable seafood practices. We’re collaborating with area businesses to promote responsibly harvested seafood, and are dedicated to becoming a valued informational guidepost for chefs and restaurateurs in the watershed.
Calling All Consumers
Finally, in order to replenish our oceans and manage their resources into the future, we need the help of consumers. We’re rolling out a comprehensive plan to provide resources for eating, choosing and sourcing local and regional seafood. Through education and engagement, Seafood Smart will empower consumers to make sustainable choices when purchasing seafood.
Origins: A Speaker Series
Thursday, February 18, 2016
On Thursday, February 18, 2016, experts came together at Artifact Coffee to discuss sustainable seafood in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The speaker series, founded by Artifact owner Spike Gjerde and sustainability advocate Dana Slater, explores food, its sources and how we eat. Hosted by Gjerde, Thursday’s panel featured Tj Tate, director of National Aquarium’s sustainable seafood program; Lee Duncan Carrion, co-owner of Coveside Crabs; and Captain Tony Conrad, owner of Conrad’s Crabs and Seafood Market.
East Coast Seafood Forum
Monday, October 5, 2015
On Monday, October 5, 2015, the National Aquarium, in partnership with Samuels and Son Seafood and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, held the first annual East Coast Seafood Forum. This event, the first of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, brought together industry representatives, scientists, the conservation community and regulators to re-envision the future of sustainable seafood. These experts shared discussions around seafood traceability, economic sustainability and the aquaculture’s role in the sustainable seafood movement.