SustainAbility Newsletter

Sustainable Seafood


Ocean fish are the last wild creatures that people hunt on a large scale. We used to think of the ocean's bounty as endless. Recently, we have discovered its limits. Between 1950 and 1994, ocean fishermen increased their catch by 400 percent by doubling the number of boats they used and using more effective fishing gear, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. In 1989, the world's catch leveled off at about 82 million metric tons of fish per year.

We have reached "peak fish," and no number of boats would help us catch more. Today only 10 percent of all large fish — both open-ocean species (tuna, swordfish, marlin, etc.) and the large groundfish, such as cod, halibut, skates and flounder — are left in the sea, according to research published in National Geographic.

"From giant blue marlin to mighty bluefin tuna, and from tropical groupers to Antarctic cod, industrial fishing has scoured the global ocean. There is no blue frontier left," lead author Ransom Myers told National Geographic. "Since 1950, with the onset of industrialized fisheries, we have rapidly reduced the resource base to less than 10
percent — not just in some areas, not just for some stocks, but for entire communities of these large fish species from the tropics to the poles."

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1 in 4 animals caught in fishing gear dies as bycatch, i.e., unwanted or unintentionally caught.

Tons of fish are tossed out because they're not what fishing boats are after, they have no market value, or they're too small to sell. Bycatch often kills young fish that could have rebuilt depleted populations if they had been allowed to grow up and breed. It is estimated that for each pound of shrimp
caught in a trawl net, between 2 and 10 pounds of other marine life is caught and discarded as bycatch.

Some seafood can be farmed sustainably. Clams are raised in special beds on sandy shores, where their harvest does little to disturb the ecosystem.  Oysters and mussels often are raised in bags or cages that are suspended off the seafloor, so little damage is done when they're harvested. Many farmed fish, such as salmon, are grown in net pens like cattle in feedlots.

This is as environmentally damaging in the ocean as cattle feedlots are on land. Additionally, mangrove forests have been cut down and replaced with temporary shrimp farms, which supply shrimp to Europe, Japan and America until the water becomes polluted.

The following are the best choices for your dinner plate, according to the Seafood Choices Alliance: anchovies, arctic char, bluefish, catfish (farmed), clams, crabs (blue, Dungeness, king), crawfish, dogfish, hake, halibut (Pacific), herring (Atlantic), mackerel (Atlantic, Spanish), mussels (black, green-lipped), octopus (Pacific), oysters (farmed), Pacific black cod (sablefish), Pacific cod (pot- or jig-caught), pollock (Alaskan), prawns (trapcaught, Pacific), rock lobster (Australian), salmon (wild Alaskan), sardines (Pacific), scallops (bay-farmed), shrimp (U.S.-farmed), squid (Pacific), striped bass (hybrid), sturgeon (farmed), tilapia (farmed), tuna (Pacific albacore) and sea urchin.

Story from Paramus Post by Shawn Dell Joyce

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning sustainable activist and director of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles

The International Sustainability Council

The Daily Green

The Paramus Post

Sustainability Campaign

Energy Star


California State university


SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Member Highlight: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc. (CMHP) is an ISC member and is a broad-based, private, nonprofit housing development and financial corporation organized to expand affordable and well-maintained housing within stable neighborhoods for low and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County with a continuing interest in the ability of occupants to more fully enter the economic mainstream.

The CMHP vision is to significantly expand the ability of the organization to create affordable housing and remain a community development force committed to continued collaboration with the private sector, along with neighborhood and government partners in promoting and developing economically integrated neighborhoods.

The CMHP was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1988 in response to the research and recommendation of a local citizens' forum. This group believed that there was a gap of housing affordability between families served by the public housing authority and those served by the market. After studying other housing partnerships and reviewing research funded by City of Charlotte, an Implementation Committee was established to develop local housing partnerships. The group's main focus was the relationship between private business (banking institutions) and government (the City and the County).

The ISC and Audubon Lifestyles are proud to have the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership as a program member and support.

To learn more about The CMHP visit:




References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
The International Sustainability Council 

General Motors


Fisker Automotive


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership

Chesapeake Bay Foundation 

University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Taylor Properties Group  

Urbana University 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) 

American Society of Golf Course Architects

The United States Golf Association (USGA)

$25 Annually $100 Annually $250 Reg / $100 Annually


Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 


A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more