Fishing has been around nearly as long as humans themselves, but there’s only one day a year that specifically encourages people to go out and fish. National Go Fishing Day is celebrated on June 18 every year, and it’s a day that is dedicated to going out, enjoying nature and relaxing by fishing.
While fishing for survival has been around for ages, fishing for fun only started gaining popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, there are many types of fishing, including rod and reel (the most common method), fly-fishing, bait casting, and spinning and trolling. However, not all fishing methods are sustainable. In fact, there are several methods that are unsustainable because they cause harm to both fish populations and the ocean, such as trawling (where a net is dragged along the seafloor behind a boat) and unregulated longline fishing.
Sustainable fishing is important. Having sustainably sourced seafood helps protect our oceans, lakes and rivers and keep at-risk fish populations from being completely depleted. The seafood market is a high demand one, and regulations from governments and private corporations are important for keeping fishermen from overfishing and destroying the sea floor. By supporting businesses that use sustainable fishing practices, you can help the market move away from these damaging methods.
One of the biggest promoters of sustainable fishing and ocean conservation is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They even instituted a Seafood Watch program, which encourages sustainable fishing practices around the world. Seafood Watch works directly with consumers and businesses to ensure that their seafood consumption comes from a sustainable source. Through partnerships across the globe, Seafood Watch aims to have 75% of seafood assessed to establish widespread sustainable fishing practices and seafood consumption. With partnerships between the program and places like the Akron Zoo, that goal is becoming more and more achievable every year.
Another partner of Seafood Watch is Red Lobster. In fact, through this mutual partnership, the Akron Zoo acquired a rare blue lobster named Clawdia. When Clawdia was found in a Cuyahoga Falls Red Lobster in 2020, Red Lobster employees contacted the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who in turn reached out to the Akron Zoo. After a vet checkup and swift action by our animal keepers, Clawdia came to live at your Akron Zoo. Clawdia can now be found in her habitat in Komodo Kingdom, where she sports a stunning rainbow-colored shell.
So how do you make sustainable seafood choices? There are a few things you can do to ensure your success:
- Download the Seafood Watch app. This app lets you know which fish are overabundant and okay to eat, and which are overfished, and therefore should be avoided.
- Give your recipes a sustainability check. Knowing which types of fish are eco-certified and sustainably sourced helps in choosing what to eat and what not to eat.
- Avoid fish that are caught via trawls and longlines, as these fishing practices are harmful to the ocean.
- Ask seafood restaurants and sellers if their products are sustainably fished. Letting businesses know sustainable seafood is important to you is the first step in encouraging a widespread adoption of sustainable seafood practices.
- Consider adding sardines or anchovies to your diet. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but due to their low rank on the food chain, they take fewer resources than bigger fish and are a more sustainable food source.
So go out, cast a line and relax. And happy National Go Fishing Day from your Akron Zoo!