By Autumn Evans
A new program at the Aquarium of Niagara will help shoppers and businesses make environmentally friendly seafood choices.
The Aquarium recently announced a partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, a consumer's guide for seafood that began in 1999 to improve the conservation of marine life and habitats. It tracks how different types of fish are caught and farmed, whether those methods cause damage to the surrounding environment and whether a species is overfished.
"We chose to start (the partnership) because sustainable seafood is a really big issue facing the oceans," Aquarium trainer Sarah Wooden said. "There's been a lot of overfishing and there's a lot of bycatch, so choosing the right kind of fish - which were caught using safer nets and monitored so that we know they haven't been overfished - is really important to the health of the whole ocean, more than just the population of fish themselves."
Under the partnership, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will provide the Aquarium of Niagara with information and materials related to the Seafood Watch program, which can then be shared with visitors.
The Aquarium of Niagara's website also will have links to the Seafood Watch site and information for businesses that are interested in joining the partnership.
"That's one of our biggest goals with this, is to maybe get some businesses and restaurants on board with this program," Wooden said, noting the Aquarium is the first local group to get involved in Seafood Watch.
For visitors to the Aquarium, there also will be wallet-sized guides available on the different types of fish commonly sold in area, whether those fish are a good choice and what might be a good alternative.
"We encourage everyone to take one," Wooden said. "Even if they only look at it once and make one decision change, that still impacts (the ocean)."