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Kit Hondrum

Marine Scientist turned Food Blogger, @kitscoastal

To celebrate a Big Blue Future and the many important aspects of a healthy ocean, MSC’s blog is featuring expert voices from the ocean, food, and science communities. 

The Role of Sustainable Fisheries in Ocean Conservation

To me, promoting sustainable fisheries is all about preserving fish populations so that they can not only thrive as a species, but also be enjoyed by future generations of fishers and consumers. We are not only observers and consumers of nature, but participants in it. 

One of my favorite authors, Aldo Leopold, said it best, 

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” 
His reference to land is analogous to our ocean. We should see ourselves as participants in the ocean community and use its resources with respect and conservation in mind. 

A Lifelong Journey Towards Sustainable Seafood

I started fishing with my father when I was around 16 years old. We would go offshore to fish in the Gulf of Mexico at least once a month—mostly for grouper, snapper, and other bottom fish. The feeling of fishing for my dinner was always so exciting and fulfilling. I learned that, in order to be able to fish the same waters for seasons to come, it was critical that we abided by catch limits set for those areas. In this microcosmic experience, I better understood the absolute necessity of sustainable fishing to protect our oceans.

My passion for sustainability grew as I studied environmental science in college. I planned on becoming an environmental lawyer, with dreams fighting for what I loved and believed in. However, after a year of law school, I decided that it wasn’t the right path for me—truth be told, I didn’t like being around lawyers much. It was then that I decided to get back to what I knew I loved: marine science. 

I earned my master’s degree in marine science with a focus on sustainable fisheries policies. As my passion grew, I knew that I needed to find a way to effectively communicate their importance to a larger audience.

Bright-eyed and freshly graduated, I felt ready to become the next marine scientist/fisheries policy advocate hybrid. However, my husband’s job unexpectedly moved us to the Netherlands, where I was unable to work. With no clear path ahead of me, I chose to channel my time and energy into my other passion: cooking. 

Ocean Conservation Starts in the Kitchen

I started a food blog called Kit’s Coastal with the goal of creating healthy recipes while continuing to share my passion for sustainable seafood. This blog served as the perfect gateway to educate consumers on how and why they should buy sustainably sourced seafood. 

I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years now and have amassed a respectably-sized audience and community of readers. I love it because I get to share my love for cooking and educate my audience on the importance of choosing sustainable seafood. What more could you ask for?

How Do You Choose the Sustainable Seafood Option?

Consumer choice is a key driver in seafood sustainability. Regulations around fisheries and natural resource policies are critical but require enforcement, which can be difficult—especially when foreign fishing boats don’t play by the rules. That is why it’s so important for shoppers to ask questions at the supermarket and to look at (and familiarize yourself with) different labels. 

'Where does my seafood come from?'
'Is it sustainably caught?'

Throughout my work, I’ve come across a common conundrum: shoppers go to the grocery store with the best of intentions, but quickly realize they don’t know how to easily identify the “sustainable” choice. They visit their local fresh fish market, uncertain of the appropriate questions to ask to ensure that fish has been sourced sustainably.  

That is where the MSC blue fish label comes into play.  

MSC blue fish label on beach

The MSC blue fish label on seafood products makes it easy to choose the sustainably sourced product. With this label you can rest assured that you are making the right choice for your health and for the ocean.

When I imagine a Big Blue Future, it’s one where MSC certified seafood is readily available in grocery stores, and one in which fish populations are thriving and our ocean is teeming with life. 

About the Author

Kit Hondrum is a marine scientist turned food blogger with a passion for creating healthy seafood recipes. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from The University of the South (in Sewanee, TN) and her Master of Science in Marine Science from Jacksonville University (Jacksonville, FL). She currently lives in Coronado, CA with her husband and two sons. 

Make sure to visit her blog or give her a follow on Instagram at @kitscoastal