Safe Seafood Pledge

Take the Sea Turtle Safe Seafood Pledge

When it comes to seafood choices, knowledge is crucial.  Certain types of seafood are healthier for you, and for the oceans.  Be a California Sea Turtle Hero -  learn how to choose sustainable seafood and take the Sea Turtle Safe Seafood Pledge!

Photo by Mats Stafseng Einarsen

Photo by Mats Stafseng Einarsen.

The three types of seafood that are especially harmful to sea turtles are swordfish, tuna, and trawl-caught shrimp. The swordfish and tuna are caught with driftnets and longlines that also kill hundreds of sea turtles (and thousands of sharks by accident each year). Shrimp are caught in nets that also capture sea turtles, unless those nets have a built in escape hatch for sea turtles called a Turtle Excluder Device (TED).

Be a California Sea Turtle Hero: Pledge to Eat Only Turtle-Safe & Ocean Healthy Seafood!

  • Avoid swordfish and tuna that has been caught using longline gear or driftnets, and avoid Louisiana shrimp caught with trawls.
  • Don’t eat shark of any type. Shark populations have been decimated by shark finning and overfishing.
  • Check the mercury level of seafood you eat at ‘Got Mercury?
  • When in doubt, choose a sea turtle-safe option (i.e.  wild salmon, talapia, clams) or just give seafood a break completely and eat some vegetables!
  • Be a California Sea Turtle Hero – Take the Sea Turtle Safe Seafood Pledge!

Background

The fish you choose at a market or restaurant may have been caught with fishing gear that also catches other marine wildlife by accident.  These unfortunate marine mammals, sharks, non-target fish and even sea turtles are often thrown overboard injured or dead.  All of the sea-life that is caught accidentally is called bycatch.  Around the globe, wasteful bycatch is driving the decline of numerous ocean species.

Even in California waters, marine wildlife is impacted by the driftnet fishery for swordfish, which uses deadly mile-long nets that soak overnight to catch anything that swim into the net.  Over the past decade, this fishery has caught 1,300 sea lions, dolphins, whales, turtles, sunfish, and blue sharks.  The driftnet fishery also accidentally captures and kills more whales and marine mammals than any other fishery along the US West Coast

Additionally, mercury contamination of seafood is a widespread public health concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that pregnant women, nursing mothers, women who might become pregnant, and children should not eat tuna, swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel because of their high methylmercury content. Everyone should know the mercury content in the seafood they eat, and its easy to check at Got Mercury?