What Does ‘Organic’ Seafood Mean?
When it comes to buying seafood and shellfish, we often know to search for sustainable sources, whether it’s ASC or MSC; but what does organic mean for seafood? Typically, organic is a common phrase found for meat and vegetables, but do you buy organic seafood?
According to DEFRA (Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs), ‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man=made fertilisers, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives”. Essentially, organic principles demand that livestock; whether that be fish or meat, should be able to express its natural behaviour pattern and should be maintained as close to natural stocking densities as possible.
Organic Aquaculture is focused on retaining these organic principles. The focus is to practice established sustainable marine environments whilst also considering the protection of naturally occurring eocsystems, use of pesticides, and treatment of aquatic life.
How to know if your seafood is organic?
A certified organic product seal on aquaculture products ensures an accredited certifying body within the country of purchase has deemed the aquaculture production in organic principles. Although there isn’t one international aquaculture standards body, one of the largest certification organisations is the Global Trust. The Global Trust delivers assessments and certifications to match the highest quality organic aquaculture standards. However, there is lots of difficulty in defining practices across various species; especially as not all fish and shellfish are even classed as livestock in some regulations.
Should you be buying organic seafood?
Ultimately, when it comes to buying any seafood and shellfish, sustainability and safe and sensible practices (whether its aquaculture or wild-caught) should be first and foremost. With disparity concerning what makes seafood organic, it would be difficult to suggest only buying organic as that might not always transpire to being the most sustainable option. It is always important to support the environment, ecosystems, and the sustainability of everything you buy.