Seafood, but make it sustainable

       Writing this series on Fair Trade brands has been enlightening for me in a lot of ways. Hopefully, you readers share the same growing interest and excitement for social consciousness that I have been experiencing while reading up on the ways that Fair Trade Certified™ is making an effort to transform the global marketplace into a safer, more empowering place for workers all around the world. Today, I came across a new bit of information that I’m excited to share with you all! It turns out, social responsibility is only part of what many Fair Trade companies stand for. When it comes to produce and other foods such as nuts and seeds, grains, coffee, tea, and seafoodyes, you read that right, seafood—companies that register under the Fair Trade certification also make a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. Pretty neat, right? 

       Having never heard of Fair Trade seafood before, my curiosity was piqued. It turns out, the push for environmental wellbeing in the seafood industry is a fairly recent endeavor, but an important one. For a food system to be sustainable, it must be able to maintain its current methods of operation indefinitely, or at least for a long time, without running itself into scarcity. This means that not only the laborers need to be well-taken-care-of, but also the environment from which the food products are being harvested–whether from a field, orchard, or marine-based ecosystem. Fair Trade certified seafood companies are all about making sure that their practices have the interests of planet and people; their aim is to consider the best interests of both consumers today and future consumers ¹.

Fair Trade USA is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Through Fair Trade certification and improved market access, we aim to build strong fishing communities by ensuring financially stable fishing families, safe working conditions, access to community services, and biologically healthy marine ecosystems.

       Attempting to produce an unreasonably large amount of product at low cost not only creates unforgiving and unfair working conditions for communities who build their livelihoods off of fishing; they also put species that are in high demand in danger of being over-fished and dying out completely. Other concerns that have been raised with non-sustainable seafood production include imbalances in ecosystems’ food chains, and negligent practices leading to dangerous pollutants that can contaminate the habitats of the fish and shellfish we’re putting into our bodies ².

       Incorporating seafoods into your diet can be a great source of lean protein, which provides a source of slower-releasing energy throughout your day. Oily fish, especially, contains polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Want to take a guess as to what part of your body depends a great deal on fats? Believe it or not, it’s your brain! And taking care of your brain also means taking care of the center of operations for your mental health ³. So, do something kind for yourself: next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up some fish and try out this recipe, an adaptation from a staple in our house. And, to also do something for the planet, keep an eye out for these brands, which are all Fair Trade Certified™ businesses. 

Northern Wind, Inc.

Bristol Seafoods

Del Pacifico Seafoods

Anova Foods

Santa Monica Seafood

Vital Choice wild seafood and organics  

Quick and Healthy Fish Tacos 

Ingredients 

  • 1 package corn or flour tortillas 
  • 5-6 fillets fish of choice (we usually use tilapia or walleye) 
  • 1/3 c lime juice 
  • olive oil 
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper, to taste 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • taco toppings 

Method

  1. On the stove, warm 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. This should only take about 5 minutes, or the oil will get too hot and splash when you put the fish in the pan. 
  2. While oil is warming, season thawed fillets of fish evenly with all spices. Adjust the amounts to your preferences, especially the cayenne pepper (it’s spicy!) 
  3. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay fish in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, turn over and cook the other side for another few minutes, until fish is cooked through. At the very end, deglaze the pan with lime juice, just to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom.
  4. You’ll want to serve the fish as soon as it’s ready, so have your taco fixings ready to go! My family loves to garnish them with fresh cilantro, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and more fresh lime juice. Other tasty options include mild soft cheeses like cotija, cabbage slaw, pickled onions, or your favorite taco sauce. 

Megan DeWeerd

Undergraduate Intern

Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.

 

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