Sustainable Seafood Choices


If you had to choose one type of food to eat for all eternity, what would that be? For me, the answer is easy; seafood and lots of it. From a steaming pot of bouillabaisse to a nicely grilled Alaskan salmon, the options are deliciously limitless.

The health benefits have also encouraged more people to incorporate various fish and seafood into their daily diets. But with global demand for seafood continuing to rise, it’s important for people to be aware that there are sustainable options when ordering out. The rise in demand has lead to overfishing in many regions of the world, and marine ecologists say it continues to be the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today. Last week the latest version of the “Seafood Watch” guide was released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The guide recommends which fish and shellfish to eat based on concepts of healthy eating and a species’ sustainability.

A fish listed as sustainable in the guide is typically abundant, properly managed, and the process of capture or how it is farmed does not harm the environment. The guide urges consumers to ask where the seafood is from and whether it was farmed or caught in the wild.

I would be the last person to discourage anyone from indulging in a well prepared seafood dish, but using the “Seafood Watch” guide is a great way to help steer you toward more sustainable options.

Here’s a sample list of which seafood are the best choices and which ones to avoid:

Catfish (U.S. farmed)
Cod, Pacific (Alaska longline, Jig, Trap)
Crab, Dungeness
Halibut, Pacific
Lobster, Caribbean Spiny (Florida)
Mackerel, Spanish (U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of Mexico)
Mahi Mahi (U.S. Atlantic Troll, pole-and-line)
Salmon (Alaska wild-caught)
Spot Prawn (British Columbia)
Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Tuna, Albacore (U.S. Pacific, canned, pole-and-line)
White Seabass

Caviar (Imported)
Chilean Seabass
Cod, Atlantic
Eel, Freshwater
Flounder (Atlantic)
Grouper (Main Hawaiian Islands)
Halibut, Atlantic
Marlin, Blue (Imported)
Octopus, Common
Salmon (Farmed)
Shrimp (Imported farmed and wild-caught)
Sole (Atlantic)
Snapper, Red
Trout, Lake (Lake Huron, Lake Michigan)
Tuna, Bluefin and Yellowfin

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