Choosing Sustainable Seafood – Turn to Seafood Watch

Seafood Watch

I’ve been at the North Carolina shore for the past few days spending some time with my family, and as you’d guess, we’ve been eating a good amount of seafood (soft shell crab in a thai yellow curry… mmm – come back to me).

My mother has been testing out a vegan diet for the past few months, and she was telling me that she’s been struggling particularly with giving up two things: 1) cheese, and 2) seafood.

I’ll leave the first for a later post, but we were discussing the second and how she can continue to make sustainable choices even if she does decide to have fish or shell-fish every so often… and that’s when I remembered Seafood Watch.

Seafood Watch is the go to authority for consumers and businesses that want to make sustainable choices when purchasing seafood. The program, run by the Monteray Bay Aquarium, makes science-based, peer reviewed recommendations to indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices”, “Good Alternatives”, and ones you should “Avoid.”

Seafood Watch National List

We’ve mentioned Seafood Watch in previous posts on avoiding gulf shirmp or finding sustainable sushi, but the program is so robust that it’s really worth referencing for most of your seafood buying.

Scientists at the Monteray Bay Aquarium research government reports and journals, as well as conduct their own primary research through discussions with fishery or fish farm experts to evaluate the sustainability of each fish. They then apply eco-system based criteria that consider the fishery, habitat, species, management, and other factors that affect the sustainability of a species. Finally, reports on each fish are developed and submitted for peer review to industry, government, and academic experts.

Seafood Watch summarizes these reports into an easy to use pocket guide which identifies each species (seperating out wild caught from farm raised) as a Best Choice, Good Alternative, or as a fish you should Avoid. They mention that they’ve distributed tens of millions of pocket guides and that their Iphone App also has a few hundred thousand downloads.

So have you used Seafood Watch before or do you plan on using it in the future? Drop us a comment and tell us what you think?

Dinesh Thirupuvanam runs a Green Buying Cooperative that helps small businesses save up to 80% on eco supplies, including: food packaging, recycled office supplies, and cleaning products.

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