Published on April 20th, 2009 | by John Chappell8
How to Find the Most Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Fish for Your Dinner Table
Concerned about how sustainable the fish is that you’re eating for dinner? Do you think that the farm raised option is always the best choice for seafood?
There are varieties of fish that have fewer chemicals or are from highly managed wild populations that are more sustainable than others. To make the selection of fish easier, the Monterrey Bay Aquarium (ironically an organization dedicated to protecting the same creatures it’s helping you decide to eat) has developed a website that details dozens of different varieties of fish, mussels, and shrimp and states which is the best environmental choice, which is the best alternative, and which ones to avoid.
You can see the Monterrey Bay Aquarium site here.
Each type of fish described has a summary of information, the status of current populations in the wild, information on how it is farmed – when applicable, and some facts about the fish species. It’s quite a comprehensive website for finding and selecting the fish option that is most sustainable and non-toxic.
Interestingly enough, the choice between wild and farm raised is not always black and white since many farmed fish have been found to have high levels of PCB and dioxins. Farmed fish can also have local environmental impacts of which consumers may be unaware. And in some cases eating fish that are wild and not endangered can be the most environmentally friendly choice and best option to put in your body.
If you eat fish regularly, it might be a good idea to peruse the website and get some ideas. For example, farmed catfish are the most environmentally friendly and more sustainable option than wild caught, while the same isn’t true for salmon. And it’s highly recommended to avoid Chilean sea bass at all times as they’re extensively overfished and caught using longlines which harms other marine wildlife.
For other information on fish from Green Options writers, check out Help Stop Mississippi’s Giant Offshore Farmed Fish Plan over on Planetsave or a Recent Study Finds Fish Tainted with Array of Pharmaceutical Drugs. I’d also highly recommend Got Mercury? The Politics of Contaminated Fish.