As more people have started to add fish and seafood to their diets, we’ve begun to hear more and more about the importance of selecting sustainable fish and seafood to feed ourselves and our families. Fish or seafood is considered “sustainable” when it is farmed or caught in ways that protect the overall health of the species, the oceans and fresh-water sources that are their native habitats, and respects the communities that rely on fishing and hatcheries for their economic livelihood.
Find Sustainable Fish on Seafood Watch
Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium that helps consumers and businesses choose the best sustainable seafood options based on where they are in the United States. Their recommendations explain which seafood would be considered a “Best Choice,” or “Good Alternatives,” and which ones to “Avoid.” By consulting their sustainable seafood list, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which is the best fish to buy the next time you are grocery shopping at the market or eating in a restaurant.
To find sustainable seafood choices where you live or a place you are traveling to, simply visit their website, select any of the 50 states, and download their handy printable guide that easily fits in a wallet. In addition, Seafood Watch also offers an app that runs on a smartphone and makes all of their information available right at your fingertips. You can get the Seafood Watch App on iTunes or Google Play.
Understanding Seafood Watch Ratings
When looking to buy sustainable seafood or fish, start with the recommendations on the “Best Choices” list. These are varieties that cause little harm to habitats and are well-managed. The varieties that appear on the “Good Alternatives” list present some concerns with how they are farmed or caught, and should be consumed in limited amounts. Try your best to avoid any fish or seafood that appears on the “Avoid” list as these varieties are overfished or farmed or caught in ways that damage the environment and other marine life.
In addition to providing information about environmentally sustainable seafood choices, Seafood Watch also offers reports on the levels of toxins found in many varieties of fish that may be harmful to children and adults if consumed too frequently. These toxins that appear in fish and seafood include mercury, industrial chemicals like PCBs and dioxins, and pesticides.
Here is a sample of what the “Super Green” list offers, but be sure to visit the Seafood Watch website for more details. The items currently on this list have mercury levels less than 216 parts per billion, offer a minimum of 250 milligrams of omega-3s and are listed on Seafood Watch’s sustainability rankings as a “Best Choice.”
- Atlantic Mackerel
- Freshwater Coho Salmon
- Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
- Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
The Super Green list is based on information provided by scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Environmental Defense Fund and aims to provide consumers a source of information that focuses on both the health and well-being of humans and the earth’s oceans and fresh-water sources.
What if there isn’t sustainable fish near you?
If you’re looking to find the safest and most sustainable fish and seafood for your family, the simplest thing you can do is to ask: “What sustainable seafood or fish choices do you offer?” Let your favorite grocery stores, fish markets, and restaurants know that environmentally-friendly fish and seafood is a priority to you. When you ask these businesses to support sustainable seafood, and then purchase it regularly from them, we can collectively forge the path to ensuring the long-term health of our oceans and our bodies.
Making Meals Super Sustainable
Want your dinners to be especially sustainable? Pick your favorite fish from Seafood Watch’s Super Green list, and add your favorite Tommy’s Superfoods vegetable medley to round out the meal. Our frozen vegetables are not only healthy and delicious, but sustainable too! Whether you’re baking, broiling, or frying fish, we have the perfect vegetable side dish for any meal.
Need more ideas? Seafood Watch has a collection of delicious-looking sustainable seafood recipes.
This recipe for Spiced Mahi Mahi Tacos with Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Crema would be tasty served over Fiesta Quinoa instead of in a tortilla.