Seafood Watch Program

Conservation in 
North America

About the Organization

The Oakland Zoo, working in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is committed to raising public awareness of marine conservation issues. While Africa's bushmeat crisis involves chimps, gorillas, and forest antelopes, North America's very own bushmeat crisis is gathering momentum in the form of overfishing and unsustainable ocean harvests. Fish represent the last group of wild animals that is still hunted on a large, commercial scale in North America, and many fish populations are feeling the pressures of unregulated or underregulated commercial fishing.

The Conservation Challenge

Some fish species that were once plentiful, such as cod, orange roughy, and swordfish, are dwindling in numbers due to their popularity. Fish such as bluefin tuna and rockfish can live to be over 75 years old and are slow to mature, making it difficult for them to replenish their numbers quickly when heavily fished. Other species are harvested in sustainable quantities, but the techniques employed in their capture inadvertently threaten other species such as sea turtles, crustaceans, marine plants, and more. For example, many wild-caught shrimp are caught in nets that scrape across the ocean's bottom, catching not only tiny shrimp but many other seafloor denizens of all shapes and sizes.

Conservation Approach

Not all fish species are in trouble, but it's difficult to know which ones are sustainably harvested and which aren't. To make this information readily available to Zoo guests, the Conservation and Education department distributes "Seafood Watch" cards free to the public. Developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in conjunction with marine scientists and representatives of the fishing industry, the Seafood Watch card is a wallet-size guide that ranks popular seafood choices in categories such as "Best Choices", "Good Alternatives", or "Avoid". This simple, straightforward format makes it easy for consumers to utilize the card when ordering seafood in a restaurant or purchasing seafood at the market.

Oakland Zoo Takes Action

Oakland Zoo's 2018-2019 Quarters for Conservation Programs

Since 2018, Oakland Zoo has rehabilitated eight orphaned cougars from all over California, all casualties of the human-wildlife conflict.

Through a unique camera trap research program, the Bay Area Puma Project engages and empowers communities to collect critical data, becoming citizen scientists and stewards for cougar survival and human coexistence.

Animals of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala are often poached for the illegal wildlife trade, threatening populations of birds, monkeys and other species.

ARCAS’s new world-class Biodiversity Education Center will provide citizens, tourists and officials the inspiration, knowledge, and tools to protect the Mayan jungle and all of the wildlife that lives there.

For people living near the Kibale Forest of Uganda, resources must be used sustainably for the jungle that chimpanzees call home to survive and flourish.

The New Nature Foundation empowers communities to live sustainably through education, tree planting, biomass briquettes and eco-stove use, ensuring a connected society that celebrates and protects the chimpanzees that live in the Kibale Forest.

You Can Take Action Too

 For more information visit their website for more information.

Resources