Tiger prawns are yummy. So yummy that they may not be served on your dining table in the future. Because they no longer exist.
Consumption habits and environmental changes may make some species less likely to appear on our tables. So if you want to keep having your favourite tiger prawn dish long into the future, try ‘sustainable seafood’.
What is sustainable seafood?
It’s seafood that’s farmed or fished in a way that allows a species to maintain its population and does not damage the habitats. Anything that is overfished or trawled is not sustainable.
Test your knowledge. Identify which seafood you should avoid. Or eat less of.
FLOWER CRAB, South China Sea, wild caught
They are harvested by small-scale fishermen using bottom gillnets and collapsible traps. These uncontrolled fishing methods will lead to its rapid depletion. Fortunately, a fishery improvement project is being developed. For now, it’s best to refrain from eating flower crabs.
Conclusion: Avoid. Try mud crab instead (see below).
MUD CRAB, Sri Lanka, India, wild caught
Mud crabs grow fast and reproduce in the millions in mangroves. They are not over-exploited in the wild.
Conclusion: Can eat. In an interesting twist, find out what some researchers are doing with mud crabs.
TIGER PRAWNS, Indonesia and Thailand, wild caught and aquacultured
Tiger prawns are generally farmed in areas where mangrove forests thrive. When these areas are cleared for prawn farming, other mangrove species are also at risk. Wild prawn fisheries result in high levels of by-catch.
Conclusion: Avoid. Try freshwater prawn instead.
ROCK LOBSTER, Western Australia, wild caught
The rock lobster fisheries in Western Australia are very well-managed with very little decline in their population numbers. The lobsters are also harvested responsibly, leaving little impact on the marine environment.
Conclusion: Can eat.
BLACK POMFRET, Indonesia, wild caught
They are usually caught using gillnets and trawls, which results in the by-catch of endangered animals such as sea turtles and seabirds.
Conclusion: Avoid. Try tilapia, cod fish, Pacific salmon (Alaska, US) instead.
OYSTER, Canada & China, aquacultured
Oysters are farmed on suspended ropes without affecting the sea floor. They are also abundant all year round. Ecologically, oysters filter biological matter out of the water, helping to keep it clean.
Conclusion: Can eat.
Found this interesting? Read part 2 of sustainable seafood here.