Blue Community Program Coastal Sustainability Best Practices

Sustainable Seafood Blog

Over the last few decades, tourism has become a formidably large industry. According to the world bank, international tourism alone now brings in well over a billion dollars annually, and when you include domestic tourism, the dollar signs shoot up even higher. At first, tourist resorts and attractions aimed to grow in size and quality. The hotel rooms had to be nicer. The resort attractions had to be more innovative. The number of things to do while on vacation needed to increase from year to year. Tourism settings needed to get better, and while this is still very much the case, another factor has come into play: sustainability. Gone are the days of needless waste and mistreatment of our planet. At least, that’s what many tourism destinations are trying to work towards. As these hotels, theme parks, and other vacation hotspots grow in size and popularity, their waste and energy consumption grow as well. To combat this, and to project an air of eco-friendliness to their customers, tourism destinations have been investing in sustainability. This can take the form of reduction of water and energy usage, greater recycling efforts, or the promotion of sustainable effort, and for coastal tourism destinations, sustainability is often even more important. They often have more guests every year, and they live near and rely on an important and often fragile ecosystem, so today we will look at these as their sustainability practices relate to local, organic, and hydroponic seafood.

Image result for food from around the world

One of the most important aspects of being a tourist and traveling is getting to sample all of the unique, fantastic food from around the world. Whether its beignets from New Orleans, pizza from Italy, or escargot from France, tourists love food. And, in many cases, much of the famous food is seafood, like Maine lobsters or Alaskan salmon. However, seafood comes with its own set of unique challenges for sustainability. It can be harvested in ways that damage the ecosystem or the fish species, it can be sold in quantities too high for populations to sustain, or it can cause the deaths of other species not meant to be caught, known as bycatch. Eliminating these problems is a necessity when it comes to coastal sustainability, and one of the ways that this can happen is by promoting local, organic, or hydroponic seafood. These types of seafood can help cut back on pollution and travel distance for seafood, and can be very beneficial for tourism destinations as well. Today, we’ll take a look at a few strategies to increase their use.

Image result for fishing boat

Seafood-serving tourist destinations obviously have it in their best interests to protect the ecosystem they get their seafood from, as it represents a large portion of their revenue. Harvesting in renewable ways can cut down on costs and protect the environment, so they should be considered wherever possible. One of the ways that tourism destinations can increase their sustainability is by engaging their sustainable methods with their guests. Bringing guests out on the fishing vessels, or giving them tours of hydroponic farms, or even allowing them to see the process of food preparation can go a long way towards educating guests about sustainability, which can lead to more sustainable guests, as well as extra revenue to be used for sustainability if the resorts and attractions charge for the behind-the-scenes access. Additionally, it might be a good idea to support the creation of a ranking system, similar to LEED standards for buildings, that focuses specifically on sustainable food. Tourism destinations could be ranked based on their utilization of hydroponics or aeroponics, how much food they import and from how far away, the environmental friendliness of their suppliers, whether or not they grow or harvest locally or on property, and how much of their food is composted as opposed to being thrown away. This ranking could even be given a clever name like FEED, standing for Food Efficiency for Ecofriendly Destinations. Just like we have seen with LEED, FEED could also encourage competition between tourism destinations, leading to higher sustainability and higher guest numbers.

Image result for mullet fish

Finally, it is vital that tourism destinations begin operating in a more environmental manner by taking advantage of multiple strategies for food sustainability, and this could and should be backed by local, state, or federal governments, as well as international tourism collaborations. Providing funding, subsidies, or tax breaks to tourism destinations that engage in specific strategies would not only encourage their implementation, but it would also lead to more money being spent in the local economy as tourism destinations switch to locally-sourced food. Some of these strategies to follow would be supporting small, local farmers, utilizing rooftop or community gardens that guests could participate in, and exploring sustainable seafood options like Cortez Village, such as sheepshead or mullet. Larger destinations could invest more heavily in widespread hydroponics or aquaponics, aiming to provide more and more of their own food every year. The eventual goal would be to create and design sustainable, zero-impact tourism destinations that can sustainably source food and seafood, on top of the other aspects of sustainability, such as providing their own power, producing little to no waste, etc… With the proper implementation, support, and marketing, these strategies could see a serious increase in the use of local, organic, and hydroponically-sourced food for tourism destinations around the globe.

 

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Citation

Hardy, M. (2018). Sustainable Seafood Blog. Retrieved from http://www.bluecommunity.info/view/blog/5aea42480cf26bc6ab8f4501

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