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What is the definition of sustainable seafood?

wild salmon
Amy Grondin with wild coho salmon

What is the definition of sustainable seafood?

Here’s a definition of sustainable seafood from SPC member Amy Grondin who fishes with her husband Greg Friedrichs on the F/V Duna: “If we take care of the fish the fish will take care of us by providing us with an income and food.”

Amy was speaking at a GoGreen Seattle conference with companies like Boeing and CenturyLink Field. Sustainable seafood means taking care of the fish we catch so that future generations may continue doing what we do.both as a way to feed ourselves and make a living.

At sea we share the ocean with the salmon we catch. We are part of the marine food web in the role of top predator. Back on land we are still connected to salmon but in ways not always tangible or as obvious as sea spray in your face. Fishermen return to land after fishing season closes. Likewise salmon leave the ocean to swim inland and up streams to spawn after their life at sea. Now the water connection to salmon is fresh, not salty. We need fresh water for drinking, washing, irrigating crops and creating hydropower while salmon need the water simply to spawn and complete their lifecycle.

No matter how you make a living – fisherman, computer programmer, construction worker, lawyer or [fill in the blank here with your own profession] – the fact that you live in the Pacific Northwest connects you to salmon. Streams and rivers thread from land to sea, stitching the two together inseparably. Choices and actions made daily have impacts beyond the four walls of our homes or four wheels of our cars. We may live in ‘rain city’ but water can’t be taken for granted. We need to protect it; keep it clean and remember that the less we use the more there will be for salmon. Living deliberately doesn’t have to mean a life of less. It means more for later.

When done right, commercial fishing is sustainable for the fish and the fishermen who make a living at it.

sustainable seafood
The Duna, a wooden trolling boat built in 1936.