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6 need-to-know marine sustainability programs

Third-party certifications can help retailers and brands decide what types of fish are best for their businesses—and good for the oceans, as well.

Like many of us, the United Nations is concerned about the sustainability of the oceans.  

Besides the fact that more than 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal diversity to make a living, the oceans contain 97% of the planet's water, according to the U.N.

Our activities as humans—driving cars, burning fossil fuels for heat and electricity, carelessly discarding plastic waste—directly harm the oceans, resulting in warming, acidification and the loss of oxygen. Disturbingly, when the oceans aren't healthy, the Earth can't be healthy. And that means we can't be healthy, either.

Already, scientists are using bacteria found deep in the ocean to create rapid-results testing for COVID-19. Other species in the ocean also carry the promise of valuable pharmaceuticals.

Preserving and improving the sustainability of the underwater ecosystem is vital. One way to have a positive effect on the ocean is to consume fish and seafood responsibly: Consume only what we need; choose products that aren't endangered or overfished; reduce plastic waste. Food manufacturers, restaurants and retailers, especially those in the natural foods industry, should follow these guidelines.

Finding fish and seafood that are raised or fished using eco-healthy, sustainable methods can be difficult. A seemingly simple internet search can push one to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Click through this gallery to see what organizations are working—and often, working together—to help seafood lovers make good choices.

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