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Sure, you can probably go out and buy almost anything you want to eat — a steak, some chicken, fish — but for many, many people who are poor and chronically undernourished, fish is the only option for quality protein.
In North America and Europe, fish account for less that 10 per cent of the protein we consume. In Africa, that figure is 17 per cent; in China and Asia it's 22 and 26 per cent, respectively. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that one billion people worldwide depend on fish for the protein content in their diet.
Besides protein, fish is an important source of vitamins A and D as well as minerals we need to stay healthy, including iodine, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Fish oil with its high Vitamin D content — mercifully in capsules — was what we got as kids growing up on the prairies to stay healthy long before the current scientific research proved just how important Vitamin D is for good health, and how we need much more than previously realized. Long live fish, and long live us!
So what can you do to celebrate the world's oceans, the fish and sea animals who populate it, and turn the black we're seeing these days to more blue? Here are a few tips for being an ocean's best friend:
• Pledge to only use reusable bags when you shop. A plastic bag today can be a death trap for sea life tomorrow. They get dumped, blow around and turn up where you least expect them on Planet Ocean. Scientists have calculated that plastic bags, nylon fishing gear and other plastic waste that doesn't degrade, kills millions of seabirds, sea mammals and countless fish each year. Sea turtles, for one, can't tell the difference between a jellyfish — one of their main food sources — and a plastic bag. One South African scientist pulled a ball of plastic from the stomach of a starving sea turtle that was several feet in diameter. Seriously.
• Pledge to only eat sustainable seafood. Ask your fish monger, your store clerk, your restaurant server: are the seafood items they have for sale sustainable? Choose the ones that are, and enjoy. Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise "seal of approval" makes it easy to find good sustainable seafood choices. You have no excuses at Whistler. More than 20 restaurants and stores offer Ocean Wise fish and seafood. Join Araxi, La Rua, La Bocca, The Grill Room, The Wildflower in the Fairmont Chateau, the eateries on Whistler Blackcomb, and more for your Ocean Wise choices when you dine out. Nesters Market and Marketplace IGA stock Ocean Wise choices for your dining at home.
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