Are You Going to Eat That?


Yukon king salmon. Image courtesy of Marine Stewardship Council.

As you learned in the previous investigation, overfishing has played a major role in the decline in the total number and diversity of fish in the sea since 1950. According to the The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018, more than half of the world's fish stocks are at their maximally sustainably fished levels; another 33% are fished at biologically unsustainable levels; and populations of several important commercial fish have declined to the point where their species' survival is threatened. If seafood is a regular part of your diet, you may have eaten fish from one of these endangered populations without even knowing it.

It is important to keep in mind that choices we make as consumers drive the seafood market. Choosing not to patronize establishments that sell seafood obtained through wasteful and destructive fishing practices, and instead opting for seafood from sustainable fisheries, can have a significant impact on the way fish is caught and sold. In this investigation, you will explore what it means for seafood to be sustainable and how your community can actively participate in the effort to preserve sustainability of seafood stocks.

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

  • describe multiple types of irresponsible fishing practices contributing to the collapse of global fish stocks;
  • identify sustainable seafood available in your community; and
  • make responsible seafood choices.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.
Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.