Thanks for All the Fish

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
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Santa Barbara’s fishing community and other fishermen in California are saddled with some of the strictest harvest regulations in the world. The laws are designed to make sure this vital industry lasts and that Californians will continue to have local fish to eat for decades to come. As a consumer, I want to support the commitment that our local fishermen are making to that future. But I cannot find and buy local Santa Barbara fish unless they are labeled properly in stores and restaurants. More importantly, I can’t be sure I’m buying local fish unless we take steps to label the environmentally unsound fish from far-flung places that are lining up next to local fish at the seafood counter.

I am confused by the opposition communicated in Tyler Hayden’s “The Bait and Switch of Seafood Fraud” article to the new legislation being proposed to make seafood buying a more honest process for consumers. Santa Barbara’s fishermen have great reason to take pride in the products of their industry. This legislation makes it easier for consumers to do our part by knowing exactly how to support our local fishermen.

Efforts to transparently label food are appreciated and expected in most sections of our supermarkets. If I choose to pay a higher price to buy organic apples, I don’t want there to be any chance that I have inadvertently bought a product from a pesticide-loaded farm. If I choose to buy a fresh cut of beef, I don’t want it to have been a pre-frozen piece of meat that came from abroad. And I would be downright outraged if this beef turned out to be some animal other than a cow. We need this same kind of basic transparency in the seafood section.

This new legislation that is being proposed is good for the environment and, more importantly, it is good for local industry.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

When I wanted to purchase locally, I went down to the Wharf and purchased directly from those who fished our waters. In the local stores the fish is frozen and shipped from out of the area, even from other Countries, so knowing the right local is a wish fest none the less. Now, living in another Ocean accessible State (Virginia), the fish I eat still comes from overseas so I have no idea what fish is wild or farmed...

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2014 at 6:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

what a wonderful tool to recognize local fish. I love fresh fish and would love to support our local fishermen. But at this point i just don't buy fish because i'm so worried of getting something other than what i ordered - whether it is mercury laden or unsustainable or... If something like this went through i'ld be much more likely to buy fish again!

sbsurfergirl (anonymous profile)
July 23, 2014 at 9:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I feel the new bills (if passed) to test random samples would discourage false labeling and be beneficial for sustainability and the environment. Not everyone is able to go to SB wharf and purchase their seafood on Saturday morning to ensure they don't get a fraudulent fish to eat.

mitts (anonymous profile)
July 24, 2014 at 10:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Mitts' comment and think it is very important for us to be able to recognize the species of fish that we are buying and to know if it was locally caught.

Merrill (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2014 at 4:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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