Plant protein is a better alternative to seafood [Letter]

Even assuming that sustainable seafood certification is credible and responsible with meaningful standards, problems remain ("Supermarkets boost sustainable seafood offerings," July 18).

According to U.S. law, a fish may be considered a product of the U.S. if it was harvested and processed anywhere in the world by a U.S.-flagged ship. Thus country of origin labeling does not imply what a reasonable consumer would expect it to.

Second, 85 percent of the world's fishery stocks are already fished at or beyond sustainable limits. Meanwhile, only about 10 percent of all seafood is sustainably harvested.

If retailers and consumers limit their seafood purchases to sustainable sources only, there is no feasible way to meet American consumer demand of 15 pounds per person per year. Once poachers realize sustainability standards are common, trade in illegal and mislabeled seafood will explode to meet demand.

Fish stocks that are not already declining will do just that. Ecosystems not already ravaged will be ravaged. And the widely-hyped fish farms, which have their own environmental challenges, will not provide easy answers.

Without a significant decline in consumer demand, our ocean ecology is doomed. There simply is no way around that fact.

However, there may be hope for our oceans if plant protein replaces a large portion of that seafood demand. Plant protein is plentiful, healthful and more sustainable than any seafood certificate can ever wish for. Responsible consumers may want to consider it before investing in allegedly "sustainable" seafood.

Mark Rifkin, Baltimore

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