How to know if your seafood is sustainable

June 10, 2013 | By | Comments (0)
arctic-char-parchment-vegetables-parchment-hearts

Arctic Char and Vegetables in Parchment Hearts | Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

June is National Seafood Month, and one area where most of us could also use a little more knowledge is sustainability. We recommend you eat more seafood as part of a healthy diet. In fact, we dedicate an entire month of our 12 Healthy Habits program to eating more seafood. Here, we’re giving you a sustainable seafood action plan: what to know and how to buy.

Barton Seaver, Chef, Sustainable Seafood Advocate, and one of our 12 Healthy Habits heroes shared why sustainable seafood is so important in our 12 Healthy Habits book.

1. It’s less expensive. Sustainable products are usually very plentiful and available, so oftentimes they’re the most economical option. The most sustainable seafood item in your supermarket is probably the canned fish, which is often the cheapest.

2. You’ll get better-quality fish. If you walk into your local fish store and ask for the freshest fish available, chances are you’ll get something sustainable. That’s a much better option than insisting on salmon–which may not be in season–because the recipe you’re using requires it. A lot of people don’t realize that 90% of fish cookery is purchasing. There’s nothing I can do as a chef to make up for poor-quality fish.

3. It sustains the ecosystem. Some people wrongly assume it’s better to avoid eating fish entirely, but the truth is that it does damage to your ecosystem, too. When you support and eat sustainable seafood, you encourage the restoration of ecosystem rather than just sacrificing them.

salmon

Photo by Randy Mayor

Three ways to know if your seafood is sustainable:

1. Keep knowledge on hand. Download free wallet-sized guides for seafood and sushi at blueocean.org and seafoodwatch.org that will give you the lowdown on the best sustainable choices for your region. You can also use your mobile phone to download the Seafood Watch App from Monterey Bay Aquariam and find out instantly if a fish you plan to buy or eat is ecofriendly.

sustainable-seafood-logos2. Be label literate. When you’re grocery shopping and you’ve forgotten your Monterey Bay Guide, look for these two labels: Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea. Fish and seafood with these labels come from certified sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

3. Know your menus. Fish2Fork.com rates restaurants by the greenness of their seafood offerings. The Seafood Watch iPhone and Android apps include Project FishMap, which lets you share the locations of restaurants where you found ocean-friendly seafood.

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