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Threatened species on the menu? Towards sustainable seafood use in zoos and aquariums



All zoos and aquariums use seafood to a greater or lesser extent, served in restaurants and cafes, and as an important component of animal feed. The majority of their millions of visitors are also seafood consumers. The sustainability of seafood supplies is of major concern: almost 70% of ocean fisheries are either fully exploited or overfished. Approximately 95% of the world's marine production depends on coastal ecosystems, such as estuaries, salt marshes, shallow bays and wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds, which are vulnerable to destructive fishing practices. Food webs have also been severely disrupted. However, fishing is still central to the livelihood and food security of 200 million people, especially in the developing world, with one in five people dependent on fish as their primary source of protein. This paper outlines a number of sustainable seafood initiatives that have been developed by aquariums and conservation organizations. We encourage zoos and aquariums to evaluate their seafood usage, to use available information to inform and increase the sustainability of their consumption, and to encourage changes in the behaviour of their visitors as seafood consumers.