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Sustainable Seafood

Catch the "Ocean Friendly" Wave

Find out which seafood is sustainable!



Ocean-friendly Seafood Guide

The attention given to ocean-friendly seafood is cause for celebration among environmental activists and seafood lovers alike. Both groups are enjoying new resources that help the average consumer determine which kinds of seafood were caught, farm-raised or harvested using environmentally sustainable practices.

Much of the public is unaware of the environmental damage caused by fishing practices. Overfishing, the removal of fish from the oceans faster than they can reproduce, is causing the depletion of certain types of fish around the world and threatening the availability of seafood. Non-ocean-friendly fishing practices are endangering "bycatch": marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds inadvertently caught in fishing nets and often left for dead. As if that isn't bad enough, fishing practices such as bottom trawling and dredging can damage marine habitats like coral reefs, rocky ridges, boulders and kelp forests.

Freshly caught fish in a yellow bucket

Don't worry, the solution isn't swearing off seafood. Become an informed consumer of seafood and know which types were fished with environmentally unsafe practices, and which are safe to buy. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has developed a website, the Seafood Watch site, to assist consumers in making these buying decisions. The site has current reports by the Seafood Choices Alliance, links to other reference resources and a search tool for locating information on seafood by species name. Consumers may access the Seafood Watch site by visiting www.montereybayaquarium.org

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has also issued consumer wallet guides containing the latest information on seafood choices available in different regions of the U.S. Regions include the West Coast, Northeast, Hawaii, Southeast, Southwest, and Central U.S. Items are rated as Best Choices, Good Alternatives or Avoid. Consumers may download the card by visiting www.montereybayaquarium.org

You can also look for a "Fish Forever" label on ocean-friendly seafood in markets, thanks to the Marine Stewardship Council. The council makes the judgment about a fishery's sustainability with three principles: the condition of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the fishery management systems. To learn more about the council's standards, visit www.msc.org

If you want to do more to ensure future generations of sustainable seafood, you can start with local organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The CBF was founded more than 40 years ago to improve water quality by reducing pollution, thus making the Bay a safer living environment for sea life. To find out what you can do, visit www.cbf.org

Hopefully the next time you are craving a bite of Chilean seabass or Pacific red snapper, you'll think twice. They are on the lists of seafood to avoid, as well as most types of shark, orange roughy, farmed salmon and imported shrimp. Get the facts before you buy.

SUSTAINABILITY OF VARIOUS FISH
Low Risk
- Clams, mussels, abalone, oysters and bay scallops (farmed)
- Alaska salmon (wild-caught)
- Striped bass
- Pacific cod
- Albacore tuna, U.S. or Canada
- Catfish, U.S. (farmed)
- Tilapia, Ecuador and U.S. (farmed)
- King and Spanish mackerel (wild-caught)
- Shrimp, U.S. (farmed)
- California Spiny Lobster (wild-caught)
- Dungess, imitation, kona and stone crabs
- Crawfish, U.S. (farmed)
- Pacific halibut (wild-caught)
- Rainbow trout (farmed)
- Freshwater Coho salmon, U.S. (farmed)
- Pacific sardines (wild-caught)
- Atlantic mackerel, U.S. (wild-caught)
 
Some Problems
- Mid-Atlantic Black seabass, U.S. (wild-caught)
- Blue, snow, jonah and king crabs
- Mahi mahi, U.S.
- Sea scallops
- Squid
- Tilapia (Asia)
- Thresher and mako sharks
- Pacific soles (wild-caught)
- Atlantic herring, U.S. (wild-caught)
- Black, red and Hawaiian grouper
- Caviar, Sturgeon, U.S. (farmed)
 
Abundant Problems
- U.S. Atlantic, gag, snowy, Warsaw and yellowedge grouper
- Orange roughy
- Chilean seabass
- Rockfish
- Atlantic cod
- Snappers
- Shrimp, imported
- Atlantic Salmon (farmed)
- Atlantic halibut (wild-caught)
- Freshwater eel (farmed)
- Swordfish
- Sharks, imported
- Caviar, Sturgeon, imported (wild-caught)
- Bigeye, skipjack, yellowfin and blue-fin tuna
- Atlantic flounders and soles (wild-caught)

 

(Updated: 10/01/13 JDM)


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