Our commitment to sustainable seafood here at the Seattle Aquarium extends beyond our own dinner plates: all the animals in our care, from fur seals to flounders, have diets that include as much sustainable seafood as possible.
Sustainable seafood means making choices that are healthy for our oceans. To make sure the food is healthy for our animals as well, the seafood we feed them is always frozen when collected (to kill parasites and prevent spoiling) and defrosted before feeding. As our Curator of Mammals & Birds Traci Belting, who is in charge of our seafood supply, says, “Since our animals eat their food raw, it’s imperative it be of the highest quality!“
You might know this squid species as market squid, opalescent squid or calamari. Because they grow quickly and reproduce at a young age (only living four to nine months), they can keep up with fishing pressure.
The krill seen here, as well as the smaller shrimp-like euphasids that we feed, are collected in the Antarctic. The fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
We feed herring (above) and mackerel (below) to our giant Pacific octopus, our mammals and our largest fish. Both are high in fat, which provides a lot of calories to our animals. Most herring fisheries are listed as “Good Alternatives” in the Seafood Watch guidelines, and a few are even “Best Choice.”
Anchovy, anyone? The West Coast fishery for northern anchovy (our local species) is sustainable, but most of those fish are used as bait. People usually eat European anchovy; however, there is a growing fishery here in Washington and in Oregon for anchovies that are used as food fish.
Our mussels are from Penn Cove, and the same vendor that delivers to some of Seattle’s best seafood restaurants. Shellfish lend themselves to low-impact aquaculture because they don’t have the same concerns as some farmed finfish including resources to feed them and risk of disease.
Visit our website to learn more about sustainable seafood!