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Afishianado™, our periodic bulletin of news and announcements, provides insights into the latest industry trends, news, market research and sustainable seafood efforts.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Seafood Choices Alliance?

Seafood Choices Alliance is an international program of SeaWeb that provides leadership and creates opportunities for change across the seafood industry and ocean conservation community. We're about synergies and identifying creative solutions to long-held challenges. By building relationships and stimulating dialogue, Seafood Choices is encouraging and challenging all sectors of the seafood industry along the road toward sustainability.

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Why is this effort needed?

The ocean is in crisis, and regulation of the fishing industry alone has, thus far, failed to adequately protect our resources. More than 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are already fully exploited or severely depleted. At the same time, demand for seafood is increasing. Aquaculture holds great promise for the future, but certain practices pose their own problems. Seafood Choices is helping the seafood industry to meet this demand and ensure a lasting supply of seafood for the future.

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Who founded Seafood Choices Alliance?

Seafood Choices was created in 2001 by SeaWeb, a nonprofit organization, working in collaboration with chefs, wholesalers, retailers and fishermen who shared a concern for ensuring a healthy ocean and a stable supply of seafood. Founding members include:

In 2005, Seafood Choices expanded its reach with the launch of its European program. Seafood Choices now operates offices in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom with activities that focus on the North American and European markets.

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Can I become a member of Seafood Choices Alliance?

As of September 2008, Seafood Choices is no longer a membership-based program.

Since 2001, we have existed as a membership-based program of SeaWeb, engaging chefs, restaurateurs, conservationists, fishermen, processors, retailers and others in the seafood industry to help make the seafood market more sustainable.  Seven years and nearly 4,000 members across over 70 countries later, it became clear we needed to adapt our structure in order to best service this collaborative work and to keep pace with the rapidly growing movement. 

The breadth and diversity of the audiences we engage is just one example of how the market for responsible seafood has grown in recent years. Convening voices across diverse stakeholder groups, gathering intelligence and sharing knowledge is what you’ve told us you find most effective about Seafood Choices’ work – and it’s where we are focusing our efforts today and for the future.

Although we will no longer have “membership”, we plan to continue to work closely with you. Through our expanded series of gatherings and events, we look forward to plenty of opportunities to deepen our work with you around the world or in your own neighborhood. 

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I used to be a member; what happened to my information?

Your details will remain in our database so that we can keep you up to date about dialogues and convening opportunities, the Seafood Summit, Seafood Champions Awards and relevant outcomes and learning from our other gatherings. This information will be sent on an ad-hoc basis, in electronic format.

The removal of the membership title will mean something different to different people and we would be happy to discuss it with you if you have any concerns, but we do not expect you to notice any significant change, as our true relationship with you remains the same.  It simply became clear that growing our membership was not nearly as important as deepening our engagement through targeted convenings with so many of you.   You have been, and remain, a vital part of the movement towards the sustainability of seafood.

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What type of seafood should consumers choose?

Seafood Choices Alliance works with a number of conservation organizations that provide consumer guides to assist in choosing the best seafood options, both from environmental and health perspectives.  In the United States, these organizations include Blue Ocean Institute, Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. In the United Kingdom and Europe, a number of guides are available from Greenpeace, the Marine Conservation Society, North Sea Foundation, and WWF.

For a more complete list of organizations that provide recommendations, please click here.

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Are there tools to help professionals
with sourcing decisions?

Yes!  Seafood Choices Alliance, as well as many of our partners, has created a variety of tools to help professionals make smart sourcing decisions.  A list of links to many of these tools can be found in Resources.

Seafood Choices Alliance recently released Le Guide des espèces à l’usage des professionnels, a French-language buyer's guide for European markets. This guide seeks to collate the information professionals need for responsible seafood procurement. It is the first of its kind to be published in France, Belgium or Switzerland and provides seafood buyers with environmental and scientific information on over 60 popular fish species.

New! Good Catch, a partnership of four organizations – Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Seafood Choices Alliance and Sustain – has recently published The Good Catch Manual: A rough guide to seafood sustainability for chefs, restaurateurs and caterers. This guide is specifically designed to help restaurants and related businesses in the United Kingdom improve the sustainability of the seafood they buy, serve and promote.

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There is a lot of attention on contaminants
in seafood. What seafood is safe to eat?

Properly handling and preparing seafood are precautions that consumers, suppliers, retailers, and restaurateurs alike can take to ensure the safety of seafood. Much of the attention surrounding seafood and human health, however, has to do with toxic contaminants – most notably methyl mercuryand PCBs – present in certain seafood products before they enter the supply chain. These contaminants, largely produced through human activities, make their way into our rivers, lakes, and ocean, eventually finding their way into fish and other marine life. How much of these toxins accumulates in the human body, and the risks posed by this accumulation, greatly depends on the gender and age of the person consuming seafood, what types of seafood he/she consumes and the frequency of consumption. The most at-risk groups are young children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons with compromised immune systems.

The good news is that there are many healthy choices. Species that are lower on the food chain – such as sardines and oysters – contain lower levels of contaminants than do predatory species like bluefin tuna, swordfish and sharks.

For further reading, click here to view additional links.

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