"Eating down the chain" refers to the way we've harvested our oceans since...well, always.  We take the bigger fish higher on the food chain, like tuna and cod.  If we continue this way, our kids and grandkids will be eating plankton for supper!  In "The End of the Line" the recent documentary about overfishing, the joke was that one day all we'd have left was jellyfish burgers.

Greenpeace has been active on the issue of sustainable fishing  for many years.  As you've probably heard, we're on a  national oceans tour right now:  Canadians  across the country are marching up to the managers of their neighborhood supermarkets and restaurants and demanding that they stop selling Redlist seafood.  The Redlist refers to species that are either themselves endangered, or that are fished in a way that endangers their habitats, other species, or traditional fishing communities.

A certain industry front group masquerading as a champion for consumer freedom depicts us as wanting to control what people eat.  The truth is, we're simply calling for sustainable management of the world's oceans.  Industry cares only about short-term profits, not about long term resource protection.

As consumers, what can we do? Empower yourself to ensure you're eating sustainably seafood, and not supporting destructive fishing practices.  Here are four simple steps from the Greenpeace Living Guide that you can take:

1) Find out how the seafood was caught:  Line caught fish are best, but not with long lines.  Choose hand-gathered shellfish, and pot-caught crabs and lobsters.

Fishermen use pole and line fishing method to catch skipjack tuna. © Greenpeace / Paul Hilton
Fishermen use pole and line fishing method to catch skipjack tuna. © Greenpeace / Paul Hilton

2) Think Carefully about Farmed Fish:  Most aquaculture actually increases the pressure on over-exploited marine ecosystems.  Read more here.

Salmon farm near Puerto Chacabuco. © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá
Salmon farm near Puerto Chacabuco. © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

3) Ask your local supermarket or restaurant questions:

- Is the fish you carry endangered or over-fished?

- how or where was it caught or farmed?

- if it's farmed, is it farmed sustainably?

- is it likely to contain a toxic build-up of mercury or other toxins?

© Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
© Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

4) Protest unsustainable fishing methods like  Bottom-trawling and Purse Seines.

Read the Sustainable Seafood ranking of Canada's supermarkets.

Take action and let your supermarket know you want them to stop selling redlist species

Sustainable Seafood FAQ

Check out the Greenpeace Living Guide for more advice on being an everyday activist.