To read the Associated Press article click here
The ocean is more than the world’s deep blue gem. It also provides more than half of the oxygen we breathe, helps regulate the world’s climate and provides the habitat for animals and plants that provide inspiration for potential medicinal discoveries.
One fun and educational activity for you and your kids to enjoy is following the Great Turtle Race, a conservation effort of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, the Leatherback Trust, Tagging of Pacific Predators, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Drexel University. Pick a migrating leatherback sea turtle to follow on its trek across the Pacific Ocean toward the International Date Line. Animated turtles represent real turtles that have been tagged with satellite telemetry devices that reveal their location.
For a list of other World Ocean Day events around the globe, look here.
May is the perfect time for packing up some portable delights and heading to a beautiful spot on a sunny day. Below you will find some healthy picnic dips just waiting for the season’s best dipping vegetables. For a seasonal guide to fresh fruits and vegetables, please visit The Food Network.
However, we have the power to change this frightening trend. By choosing seafood that is ocean-friendly, you can help chart a new course. Below are two tools to help you make the right choices next time you are at the seafood counter or in a restaurant.
Here is a list of the Best Choices to choose from if you want to eat sustainable seafood that is also low in toxins provided by KidSafe Seafood.
Here is a searchable list of restaurants that specialize in serving sustainable seafood.
Mercury Q and A with Tim Fitzgerald of the Environmental Defense Fund
Tim Fitzgerald, Environmental Defense Fund Scientist, analyzes the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture operations to provide information about eco-friendly seafood choices, often in collaboration with other conservation organizations such as SeaWeb’s KidSafe Seafood program. Fitzgerald researches the occurrence of mercury, PCBs, dioxins and pesticides in fish as a means of educating consumers and policymakers about the health risks associated with the consumption of contaminated seafood. Fitzgerald is a frequent speaker on conservation and human health issues concerning the U.S. seafood market.
Q: What is mercury and where is it found?
A: Mercury is a highly toxic metal that is both naturally occurring and introduced to the environment by industrial processes. Coal-fired power plants account for two-thirds of global mercury emissions.
Q: How does mercury get into our seafood?
A: After it enters the atmosphere, mercury falls to the ground and enters bodies of water. There, it is converted by bacteria into methylmercury, the form that accumulates in fish and poses a risk to human health.
Q: What are the major risks and potential effects of eating seafood that is high in mercury?
A: Mercury targets the nervous system and kidneys. Children exposed to mercury before birth may exhibit problems with mental development and coordination, including how they think, learn and problem-solve later in life. Mercury exposure can also harm adults. Symptoms can include numbness, burning or tingling of the extremities, fatigue, weakness, irritability, shyness, loss of memory and coordination, tremors and changes in hearing and blurred vision.
Q: Who is most susceptible to mercury?
A: Developing fetuses, infants and young children are at the highest risk from mercury exposure, since their brains and nervous systems are still forming. Fetuses can absorb mercury directly across the placenta, and nursing infants can get it from their mother’s breast milk. This is why it is so important for women of childbearing age to minimize their consumption of fish with high mercury levels.
Q: What seafood is safe for pregnant mothers and children to eat?
A: It’s best to focus on small fish that are lower on the food chain. Anchovies, Arctic char, Atlantic mackerel, wild Alaskan salmon (including canned), sardines and farmed trout are all low in mercury and great sources of omega-3.
Q: If a person or child is tested and has a high level of mercury in their body, how long will it take for them to return back to having safe levels of mercury in their body?
A: The good news is that mercury levels in your body will gradually decrease over time, assuming you don’t eat any more mercury-contaminated fish. You should start to see a difference in a few months.
Q: What are some of the other toxic pollutants that are found in certain seafood and what are their effects?
A: Mercury is the most prevalent environmental pollutant found in seafood, but there are others that can be a problem too. PCBs, dioxins, pesticides and flame-retardants (PBDEs)—probable human carcinogens—have all been found at elevated levels in commercially available fish. They tend to be a more localized issue, so the best way to avoid exposure is to check recreational fishing advisories before eating locally caught fish.
Q: What is the best way to avoid environmental pollutants in seafood?
A: Here are three easy ways to minimize your exposure to seafood contaminants:1. Carry a seafood guide that lists healthy and eco-friendly options, like Environmental Defense’s Seafood Selector and the KidSafe Seafood Best Choices Chart.2. Eat fewer large, predatory fish like swordfish, shark and tuna, which are likely to be highest in mercury and other toxins. Instead, choose smaller fish that are lower on the food chain, like canned salmon, sardines, catfish and farmed shellfish.3. Eat a variety of fish. Just like you wouldn’t invest all your money in one stock, mixing up your seafood choices lessens your risk of excessive mercury exposure from one highly contaminated species.
Our physical and emotional hearts are intertwined and rely on each other to stay happy and fit. KidSafe Seafood, a SeaWeb program, celebrates both of these hearts this month with an array of activities, heart healthy gifts and delicious recipes.Your kids will have fun helping you make the following recipes.
There has been a lot of news coverage about mercury and tuna over the past few years, and now this debate has moved on to Sushi.
Read the recent coverage in the New York Times, NPR article that covers KidSafe Seafood Best Choices, view other great seafood options for Kids and a fun Sushi Party planner. You can have your sushi and eat it too.
High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi – Featured in the New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/dining/23sushi.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=sushi&st=nyt&scp=2
NPR – Making Sense Out of Mercury in Fish – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18556432
Other great Kidsafe Seafood options and kid friendly sushi party ideas – http://www.kidsafeseafood.com/SushiParty.php
Check out Boston blogger Jacqueline Church’s – latest blog on sustainable seafood that features great recipes and resources for National Seafood Month –
The Faces of California Fishing
Lori French is the director of The Faces of California Fishing, a new organization that tells real stories behind California’s fishing communities. French took time out to talk to KidSafe Seafood about the benefits of eating locally caught, fresh seafood.
Q. Why should we buy U.S. seafood over imported seafood?
A. The United States has one of the better-regulated fisheries in the world. Rules are in place to try to protect our resources from being overfished. When you buy seafood from a foreign country, you don’t know how it has been handled and under what kind of conditions it was caught or raised. You also don’t know what environmental regulations were followed or if harmful antibiotics or other chemical substances were used.
Q. What are the biggest difficulties facing local seafood businesses?
A. The biggest difficulties today facing the local fishing industry are decreased access to fish, cheaper foreign imports of seafood and loss of the local fishing infrastructure. What are some solutions? To help the U.S. fishing industry, fishing regulations need to be made with community involvement and be both environmentally and economically viable. Consumers can help by purchasing local seafood; this in turn would help the local fishing communities stay solvent while preserving our maritime heritage. Encourage your local restaurants and seafood providers to sell local products.Q. What is the best way to get children involved in the consumption of local seafood?
A. In every fishing family, children grow up eating fresh fish. Simply buying and preparing fresh seafood on a regular basis is the best way for children to become familiar with local seafood. The recipes don’t have to be fancy. There is a new program starting up to bring information to schoolchildren on the fishing industry, the Fishing Families Cultural Exchange.
Q. What is your favorite seafood recipe?
A. You can’t beat a freshly cooked Dungeness crab served with French bread and a salad, or a nice piece of grilled California King Salmon.
To learn more about The Faces of California Fishing and download recipes, stories and seafood tips visit www.thefacesofcaliforniafishing.com.
Buying locally caught seafood and harvested produce is not only better for you and your children, it’s also better for your local economy and the environment. The local food movement is a return to the type of shopping experience that our grandparents enjoyed as children. Take a trip to the local farmers’ market on a sunny Saturday morning and watch your family’s face light up at the variety of food that can be found there.Your kids will have fun helping you make the following recipes.