Good News for our Oceans Today: North Sea Cod Stocks Recovering Rapidly
Every day it seems as though we learn of a new species threatened with extinction, or a study discussing increased acidification in the oceans. But, today is different, we would like to celebrate the work being done to stabilize the population of Cod in the North Sea. According to research done by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) , an organization listed under Sailors for the Sea’s Conservation Resources, the species is recovering and will be a candidate the MSC’s Sustainability certification much sooner than previous estimates. To qualify for MSC’s certification you must meet certain stock size, fishery and species management plan standards. The Marine Stewardship Council attributed the cod’s rapid recovery to the establishment of strict catch limits and the public campaign for sustainable fish. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase how promoting and advocating for the protection and conservation of the ocean can pay off and produce tangible results.
North Sea cod stocks ‘on road to sustainability
As part of the Marine Stewardship Council’s goal to replenish the North Sea cod stocks they promoted the consumption of underutilized fish, specifically red gurnard.This species of fish is commonly caught by fishermen as bycatch, meaning it is caught by accident and is then discarded. So instead of wasting the fish its consumption was advocated for. Unfortunately little data had previously been collected on the stock sizes of red gurnard. Consequently, recent popularity has caused additional stress on the species population. The take home message here is that regardless of the species finding a balance in consumption is key, utilizing a variety of species would be ideal. To learn more check out Sailors for the Sea’s Rainy Day Kits including a Sustainable Seafood Matching Game.
Yesterday, Sailors for the Sea staff traveled to the New England Aquarium in Boston for their World Oceans Day celebration! Hundreds of families visited, learning the importance of ocean conservation through hands on activities.
Sailors for the Sea staff demonstrating Rainy Day Kits!
Sailors for the Sea staff taught kids and parents about sustainable seafood using two of our Rainy Day Kits, The Deadliest Catch & Sustainable Seafood Matching Game.
The Deadliest Catch is was a big hit amongst the crowd, thanks to the usage of candy to demonstrate overfishing. Kids are given an “ocean” (bowl) full of “fish” (swedish fish & skittles) and a fishing pole (a straw). In the first round, kids use the straw to suck up the candy and set it next to the bowl. After the first round students are allowed to eat their catch – and are asked… What do the fish left in the ocean do? The most common answer was swim away – but some guessed correctly that they would repopulate!
A young visitor tries to catch fish with his straw.
The joy on a kids face who did not catch very many fish was amazing, and those who had emptied their bowl were sadly reminded that 0 x 0 = 0. A second round allows kids to use a net (spoon) to more easily capture fish. Some discovered the concept that they could have a never ending candy bowl if they did not remove all the fish in the sea!
Once the concept of sustainable seafood is learned, kids played a version of memory with Sustainable Seafood Matching Game to learn which kind of fish they can are caught in a sustainable manner.
To download these lesson plans, click here. The plans are intended to be 30-60 minute activities and are ideal for learning about marine science and ocean health issues when you don’t have laboratory supplies. Almost every item you need can be printed out or bought at your local pharmacy!
Kids contemplating candy… parents thinking about if they eat sustainable seafood!