Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fish Tales

During our recent visit to Block Island, RI, our friend Thom took us clamming!  No one in the family had ever tried this activity before, so we really enjoyed the adventure.  First step, was getting a license to gather clams.  We paid our money and received small metalnewengland59 rectangles with which we had to measure our clams.  If the clam fit through, we had to bury it back in the sand; if it didn’t fit, we could keep it.  We explained to the kids how this was a way to ensure that there would be clams in Block Island the next time we visited.

When it comes to fishing, sustainability is an important topic.   You’ve probably read about many depleted fisheries and types of fish that you shouldn’t order at a restaurant.  Scientists spend much time trying to calculate the number of fish that can be taken from a population without causing the population to decline or crash.  Managers also work to decrease bycatch (non-target species inadvertently caught) and to forge international agreements (think Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin). 

But if you’re a greenmomster who’s not out clamming, how can you help these fisheries scientists and managers?  You can help by carefully researching your fish purchases.  Each time you avoid purchasing fish from non-sustainable fisheries, you’re helping the environment.  Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium website or NOAA’s FishWatch website.  Both websites have background information on sustainable fisheries and instructions on how you can make eco-friendly fish choices.  Next time your family is hankerin’ for a fish fry or a little pasta with clam sauce, you’ll know you made a sustainable choice! 

Want to learn more about the impact of sustainable fisheries?  Check out this informative video on coral reefs from World Resources Institute:

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