Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Seafood for Thought: Part 2 (End of the Line)

The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film on the impact of overfishing on our oceans... and it looks really good!

Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048!

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows investigative reporter Charles Clover as he reveals "the dark underbelly and hidden costs of putting seafood on the table at home or in restaurants". It's filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market, and features top scientists, indigenous fishermen, politicians, celebrity restaurateurs, and former tuna farmer turned whistleblower, Roberto Mielgo.

"The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world".

For more information about the movie and other ways you can take action, click here.

The End of the Line is also a book (by Charles Clover) which I've started... will let you know what I think!

For Part 1 of Seafood for Thought, click here!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Seafood for Thought: Part 1 (How to find sustainable seafood)

Overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today. About 130 million tons of seafood is harvested every year- that's double of what it was in the 1970s! 90% of all large, predatory fish (like tuna and cod) are already gone from the world's oceans, and
nearly 75% of the world's fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished... a situation that’s only getting worse, putting at risk the over 120 million people worldwide who depend on fish for their incomes....

The fishing gear used to catch seafood is also destroying ocean ecosystems and catches non-target, often endangered, species like sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals.

There’s also the issue of illegal fishing that puts further pressure on stocks, and on the food security of coastal communities.

According to Greenpeace, we’re taking 2.5 times more out of the sea than what is sustainable, and we need to ease up on the volume we consume. That said, lots of people like seafood and it’s recommended as a great source of that beneficial omega 3 fatty acid –DHA...

So what’s an environmentally-conscious fish lover to do?

Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it. And to improve it, we need to start consuming seafood in a sustainable manner.

Sustainable seafood can be defined as species that are caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of that species, as well as the greater marine ecosystem.

There are a few great programs out there that can help us get sustainable seafood on our plates.

Greenpeace’s Redlist
The Redlist is a list of seafood that are the most damaging and in need of immediate attention – a list of "what not to eat" and "what not to sell".
For example, in Canada, Atlantic Salmon (farmed), Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Haddock, and Atlantic sea scallops are on the Redlist.
Seafood markets and consumer preferences for seafood differ from country to country, so there are different Greenpeace Seafood Red Lists for different countries- make sure to look at your national Greenpeace website- click here.

SeaChoice (Canada)
SeaChoice is a Canadian sustainable seafood program, formed by five Canadian environmental groups including the David Suzuki Foundation. Their goal is to help Canadians take an active role in supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
They provide great seafood (and sushi) guides for your wallet with traffic-light scorecards- "Best Choices", "Some Concerns", and seafood you should "Avoid".
Click here to print out your own copy of the guides!

Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquarium)
The Seafood Watch program helps American consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. They offer handy pocket guides with a list of recommendation using the traffic-light system- seafood items that are "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and that should be "Avoided."
Their pocket guides are available for six regions of the U.S.: West Coast, Southwest, Central U.S., Southeast, Northeast and Hawaii and they also also have national and sushi versions of the pocket guides. All of their guides are updated every six months. Click here to print your own guide.

Ocean Wise (Vancouver Aquarium, Canada)
The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life. Its Ocean Wise program works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood, and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions.
The Ocean Wise logo can be found in participating restaurants, markets and food-service outlets throughout Canada- currently there are over 300 participating members- all committed to providing ocean friendly alternatives to their customers. Click here to find out what restaurants are Ocean Wise in your area.

Not from Canada or the US?
Seafood Watch includes a list of organizations by country offering their own localized recommendations- click here.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Would you eat 16 packs of sugar?

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have done it again...

Remember the Drinking Yourself Fat campaign that told us that "drinking 1 can of soda a day can make you 10 pounds fatter"?

Their new ad asks:

Would you eat 16 packs of sugar?

Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner, hopes “that this campaign will encourage people to consider healthier alternatives to sugary drinks... Even small changes can have real health benefits.”

Monday, 1 November 2010

Starved for Attention

A friend of mine, Dr. Umang Sharma, brought this great campaign to my attention... thanks Umang!

This year, an astonishing 195 million children worldwide will suffer from the effects of malnutrition; 90% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Malnutrition contributes to at least 1/3 of the 8 million annual deaths of children under 5 years of age.

According to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), without essential nutrients 9 children will continue to die every minute of causes related to malnutrition.

MSF, along with the VII Photo agency, launched “Starved for Attention” in June, a global multimedia campaign presenting a unique and new perspective of childhood malnutrition.
Through a seven-part mini-documentary series that seamlessly blends photography and video, the campaign aims to rewrite the story of malnutrition.

Photojournalists traveled to malnutrition “hotspots” around the world - including India, Bangladesh, Mexico, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States - to shed light on the underlying causes of the malnutrition crisis and innovative approaches to combat this condition.

Currently, international donors - in particularly those making the largest humanitarian contributions to food assistance projects - are currently providing substandard foods like cereal-based fortified flours. While these foods can relieve hunger, they don't meet basic nutritional standards for infants and young children, a reality highlighted by the fact that none of these cereals are used in nutrition programs in the donors' own countries.

To end this double standard, you can sign the petition “Overcoming Childhood Malnutrition: The Time to Act is Now” on

The time to act is now.