Same trusted seafood resource, new look
A modernized version of the FishWatch website went live in March during the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show.
Its designers hope that the facelift in appearance as well as in some of its content will better engage consumers to make health-smart, sustainable seafood choices.
“It looks totally different,” said Katie Semon, FishWatch program manager. “It’s more modern, easier to navigate and read.”
FishWatch is an online educational resource for consumers and fishery managers alike. It presents scientific information, laws, and management processes related to seafood supply.
SeaWeb provided National Marine Fisheries Service, the branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that maintains the site, recommendations for the new version of the website. These recommendations came from the results and analysis of feedback from surveys SeaWeb conducted with North American sustainable seafood NGOs and industry groups about the usability, usefulness, and content of the original FishWatch site.
There was a clear cry for more interesting and engaging content, Semon explained. And that has been delivered, notably in the 85 colorful “seafood profiles.”
|Whether your favorite cod is Atlantic, Pacific, Lingcod or Sablefish, FishWatch can tell you more about what's on your plate. Screenshot, FishWatch.gov.
Clicking on any of the 85 fish images leads to a profile that provides species-specific data for population size, exploitation rate, and seasonal movements.
While the information in these profiles existed on the old site that was launched in 2007, the new profiles “better tell the story of that fish species,” said Semon.
Fishwatch provides guidance for purchasing the best product possible. “We’re trying to decide now whether to do a mobile app,” Semon said, as a way to allow consumers to bring the resource with them to the grocery store.
|FishWatch addresses the common concern, "What about mercury?" on its Health and Safety page. Screenshot, FishWatch.gov.
But don’t expect the resource to name names. FishWatch “is not a buyer's guide designed to discriminate against one fishery or advocate for another” nor provide an “eco-label or certification” to companies, according to an NMFS statement.
The biggest category of users is the middlemen, according to Semon. This category includes distributors and chefs. But the new site has potential to draw in more general public users.
The NMFS views FishWatch as a living resource. In the next few months, FishWatch “will include more information about imports—both major components of our seafood supply. We’ll also address new challenges and hot topics as they arise in the seafood world.”
Visit FishWatch here.