Sunday, 22 May 2011

Good news.. oysters are good for you and the environment!

The Vancouver Aquarium has a program called Ocean Wise, which is aimed at promoting sustainable seafood in restaurants, markets, and other food service facilities. Ocean Wise works directly with food service companies to select sustainable seafood and actively promote them to the general public. The options are highlighted on participating restaurant menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, to help consumers make environmentally friendly seafood choices. Today, well over 300 restaurants in Canada are participants in the Ocean Wise program.

Ocean Wise’s recommendations are based on 4 criteria. An Ocean Wise recommended species is:

1.) Abundant and resilient to fishing pressures
2.) Well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research
3.) Harvested in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species
4.) Harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species.

All farmed oysters are Ocean Wise recommended.

Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and is a partner of SeaWeb's Seafood Choices Alliance. Seafood Watch is one of the best known sustainable seafood advisory lists, and has influenced similar programs around the world. It is a program designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources.

Oysters, Farmed
Farmed oysters account for 95 percent of the world’s total oyster consumption. Most oyster farming operations are very well managed and produce a sustainable product.

Consumer Note
Farmed oysters are available year-round and can be served raw, smoked, canned or frozen. Oysters are known as kaki when prepared for sushi.

Like clams, mussels and scallops, oysters are filter-feeding shellfish that are extremely well-suited to aquaculture. Farming oysters brings little risk of pollution or escapees, and habitat effects from the farms are minimal.

Unlike some farmed fish, oysters minimally impact marine resources as they don’t rely on wild-caught fish – in the form of fishmeal or fish oil – for food. And, thanks to the oyster’s filter-feeding action, oyster farms can actually benefit the surrounding coastal waters.

With their low habitat impacts, farmed oysters are a “Best Choice.”

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