The Nature Conservancy's annual Future of Nature lecture series is one of my favorite eco-events of the year. On Monday, seafood enthusiasts and nature lovers gathered from all around the state to hear the TNC's panel on the Future of Fish. Fisheries management and sustainable seafood is an incredibly complicated industry with countless players that want a say in the matter. The panel included some well-renowned speakers including:
- Roger Berkowitz, President + CEO of Legal Seafoods
- Paul Greenberg, Author of Four Fish and American Catch
- John Pappalardo, CEO of Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman's
- Mike Tetreault, Executive Director of Nature Conservancy, Maine
After snacking on some sustainable seafood bites (dogfish and oysters) and enjoying a free beer courtesy of Dogfish Head, I listened to each panelist share the challenges and triumphs of the portion of the seafood/fisheries industry. Here are my top 8 takeaways from the panel:
- Currently used fish stock assessment technology is out of date. The entire industry (and the ocean!) would benefit from more accurate counts using sonar.
- We need more nimble policies to adapt to constantly fluctuating fish populations, and migrations due to climate change.
- We should incentivize fishermen to help with scientific research instead of spending more money to send more boats out to do things that fishermen are often already doing (assessing fish populations and movements).
- Consumers need to step it up! We should be making an effort to know where our seafood comes from because 90% of our seafood comes from abroad.
- Consumers need to be open minded about trying local options like dogfish, skate wing, local conch, etc. instead of only shrimp, tuna, and salmon.
- 32% of wild fish sold in the U.S. comes from illegal or unregulated fisherman (typically caught, frozen, and packaged abroad).
- Consumers can push for more traceability in their food - especially at restaurants.
- Overall, fishermen and fisheries are doing quite well!