Seafood Sustainability is the practice and management of harvesting or producing seafood with minimal impact to the environment.

Environmental Impact: the effects on the surrounding environment of an animal harvested or produced for commercial purposes. Ex. Open Ocean Farming Pens

Habitat Impact: the effects on the particular habitat of an animal harvested or produced for commercial purposes. Ex. Bottom Trawling/Blast Fishing

  • Bottom Trawling (YouTube video)
  • Lobster and grouper are sometimes caught with poison. The poison kills the reef and its other inhabitants.
  • Reef fish are often caught with explosives. Many snappers, rabbitfish, groupers, fusiliers, triggerfish, and surgeonfish are typical blast fishing catches. The explosives kill the reef for many decades, and the reef sometimes does not regenerate at all.

Population Impact: the effects on the population as a whole of an animal harvested or produced for commercial purposes. Ex. Overfishing/Illegal fishing

  • Overfishing—catching fish faster than they can reproduce—is an urgent and devastating issue, and is one of the biggest threats to ocean ecosystems. Learn More
  • Illegal Fishing—International fisheries management agencies report that at least a quarter of the world’s catch is illegal, unreported or unregulated. Learn More

Bycatch Impact: the effects on other un-intended animal life caused from harvesting seafood. Ex. Longlining or trawling

YouTube videos courtesy of Seafood Watch program, Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation

At the NMRM&A, we actively support and endorse Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and use guidelines they’ve formulated based on scientific research to better assist us in our efforts to be seafood sustainable, as well as to better inform our conservation-minded visitors about this crucial initiative.

Seafood Watch has three basic color-coded guidelines:

Green = “Best Choice”

Buy first, they are well-managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife.

Yellow = “Good Alternative”

Buy, but be aware there are concerns with how they are caught or farmed.

Red = “Avoid”

Don’t buy, they are overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.

In addition to Seafood Watch, other resources utilized include:

The staff here at National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium are doing several things to not only be involved in keeping our oceans sustainable and healthy, but to also spread the word to our visitors near and far.

Living Collections

In the Living Collections Department, many of our beloved living artifacts eat a plentiful variety of seafood. All of the seafood we feed our animals follows the guidelines of the Seafood Watch Program to ensure we are not only practicing sustainable methods, but that we are also providing the best dietary care for our animals. In addition, the Living Collections Department takes measures to ensure our seafood suppliers are those focused on sustainability.


Within the Education Department, educator staff and volunteers are trained to interpret seafood sustainability to visitors within the scope of the individual education program. The face-to-face exchange, often involving an animal, allows guests to associate what it means to be sustainable with an actual animal that is affected by it. The training our educators and volunteers receive also provide guests with immediate responses to any questions or concerns they may ask.

Guest Services

Just like our educators and volunteers, our Guest Services staff are trained to:  1) quickly respond to guests who want more information about the resources we provide for Seafood Watch, 2) answer questions, and 3) direct visitors to any animals or education programs that have tailored sustainable seafood  stories.

At both box offices, both Museum Stores, and the Rivers Edge Cafe, complimentary Seafood Watch pocket/wallet guides for the Central Region of the U.S. are available to take. Additionally, for the savvy smartphone users, the Seafood Watch app is available as a free download so that no matter where you go you have access to guide information to assist you in making sustainable seafood  choices.

Seafood Watch