Through a Fish’s Eye

May 18, 2011

Guest blogger Tina Perantonakis whets our appetite for seafood and sustainability.

Every time I visit my local grocery store, I’m tempted by the fish and shellfish on display in the seafood case—wild-caught salmon from Alaska, grouper from Florida, catfish from North Carolina, and my favorite, local crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, are just a few examples.  As much as I enjoy most types of seafood, lately I’ve been purchasing fish and shellfish that originate from the safest and most sustainable habitats.

NOAA Fisheries and the National Fish Habitat Board recently published a book that undoubtedly will  help me learn more about aquatic habitats, the environment, and fisheries. The book, Through a Fish’s Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010, provides an environmental assessment of estuaries and rivers in the United States.  The assessments are supplemented by beautiful color photographs and informative graphs and charts. The book also includes a helpful chapter, “How to Read and Understand This Report,” which describes the methodologies used for the assessment. 

Since I live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, I first read the Fish Habitat assessment for theMid-Atlantic States.  Sadly, the report concludes the bay has “a very high risk of current habitat degradation…” and details the human activities that have an effect on fish habitats. The assessments for each region do end on a hopeful note by highlighting public and private conservation projects aimed at reversing damage already done.  Since reading the report, I’ve become more conscious of how my daily activities affect the Bay.  I was even inspired to tackle more Bay-friendly projects around my house, including installing an additional rain barrel to capture rain water and planting native trees in my yard.      

If you’d like to learn which varieties of U.S. seafood are the most sustainable, visit NOAA’s wonderful Fish Watch webpage here.  Through a Fish’s Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010 can be purchased here or located  in a library here.


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