Seafood Watch

For special occasions, we turn to a nice sushi dinner or some good salmon. When we’re on the beach in Hawaii or sightseeing in San Francisco, we like to finish off the day with shrimp cocktails and fresh crab. Sometimes when we’re visiting exotic places, we’re introduced to enormous Tiger Prawns, shark fins, and conch. Admit it, seafood is usually an interesting and delicious twist to our everyday lives. For some people, avoiding things like shark fin, dolphin, and sea turtle is obvious. But it’s not just the exotic seafood choices that are the most harmful. In fact, it’s often the things we eat every day.

Bluefin Tuna

Seafood can be considered unsustainable for many different reasons. Some species, sea turtles included, are already endangered, often due to environmental strains other than fishing such as habitat loss and climate change. However, many other species such as the prized Bluefin Tuna (shown above) are on their way to endangerment simply because of unsustainable fishing practices and overfishing in the wild. This often makes fish farming seem like the most sustainable way to produce seafood, but unfortunately, this practice can also have downsides, such as drinking water pollution and natural habitat destruction. This makes eating seafood in general look grim. So should you be eating seafood and if so, how do you know?

The Bad News…

Location is everything with a lot of seafood out there, so it isn’t always as easy as saying yes or no to a certain type of fish. In some cases, sardines for instance, regulations or safe practices from one source make them a great option, where another source without safe practice should be avoided at all costs. The good part is, even though this is a tiny bit of effort on your part, you can always ask a restaurant or grocery store where that fish is from, and they’ll usually have an answer for you. If not, it’s up to you whether or not you want to buy it.

The Good News…

Seafood is great! And you can absolutely still eat a ton of it. You can still eat the following delicious seafood treats (and more) without worrying about sustainability:

  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Mackerel
  • Catfish
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • And more!

Sometimes being sustainable isn’t the easiest choice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has an easy to use Seafood Watch List that you can look up online or through a phone app. The best thing you can do in this case and in any environmental matter is to keep yourself informed and inform others, so please visit the links to learn more.

-Morgan, Sierra Club Intern

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4 responses to “Seafood Watch

  1. Hi Morgan, Thanks for getting involved in the topic of sustainable seafood and fish. Keep in mind that Most farmed species rob Peter to pay Paul. Valuable ocean forage fish are harvested to feed farmed fish. Farmed fish such as tilapia are typically imported. We are also wary of advice that abundant forage fish are necessarily a “good” (sustainable) choice. Krill, squid and sardines are food for other organisms, including wild salmon and whales. When we read, for example, of factory ships harvesting massive amounts of krill or herring and being certified “green,” we are concerned.
    Our advice? The best way to sustain wild fish stocks is by valuing wild fish. Be willing to pay more for wild salmon and other species. This provides economic incentive to policy makers and other stakeholders to protect, restore and enhance the environs wild fish use, to responsibly conserve stocks, to reserve aquaculture strictly for species that truly do not negatively impact the environment, and to limit harvest of the forage base these fish rely upon.
    There is one other piece to this, and it’s huge. We need the Sierra Club and likeminded organizations to pressure the FDA to go to a one-fish, one-name policy in the U.S. so that consumers can confidently determine exactly what they are purchasing in markets and restaurants.
    Thanks for being part of the good fight!

  2. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

  3. Pingback: Six Toxic Fish (Plus Safe and Delicious Alternatives) |

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