All I Want is Fish for Dinner


We’ve all heard about avoiding certain types of seafood because they contain high levels mercury, but there are several other reasons to avoid certain seafood as well. This information makes seafood buying complicated and consuming, especially since most of the products that we shouldn’t eat is what is sold in the typical grocery store.  Here is an interesting link to describe what fish we should avoid in detail. I’m highlighting my favorites.

 

source

Imported Shrimp – Imported shrimp are typically farmed shrimp where their growing environment is very dirty. They contain antibiotics to fight diseases and parasites, chemicals that were used to clean their pens, and even mouse and rat hair. Yuck. Eat domestic shrimp instead.
Atlantic Flatfish (includes flounder, sole, and halibut – one of my favorites!) – Avoid these fishes because they are so extremely over-harvested that some only have 1% of the population needed to support sustainable long-term fishing. A good substitute is Pacific Halibut.
Atlantic Salmon – Wild caught numbers are too low! Fish farms are crowded making them ideal conditions for diseases which require antibiotics to keep the fish healthy. Opt for Wild Alaskan Salmon.
Orange Roughy – Very high in mercury but more importantly, it can take 20-40 years for these fish to reproduce! This fact makes it impossible to sustainably harvest even though some Orange Roughy is sold with that label. Even Red Lobster  won’t sell it.
Chilean Sea Bass – This fish which almost always seems to be a special at your favorite restaurants has the same fate as the Orange Roughy. It reproduces late in life and most of what is sold in the US has been illegally caught. Greenpeace has reported that if people don’t stop consuming this fish, it could be commercially extinct in 5 years.

What can you do to make sure you are consuming healthy, sustainable seafood? Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch has a helpful, printable list that you can take with you grocery shopping to help you make good choices. Shop at Trader Joe’s , Whole Foods or Wegman’s who have all made a commitment to selling fish from sustainable sources. If you’re still unsure, ask where the seafood came from. If you’re grocery store can’t answer that question, why would you want to eat it in the first place?

Any other tips, please share.  This topic is new for me and the guidelines are so extensive that I feel like I’m navigating tricky waters (no pun intended!).

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jessica on April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Our Seafood Department at Wegmans should be able to answer a lot of questions that anyone may have about fish and sustainability
    and where is comes from. Just ask them.

    Reply

  2. I’m confused about where Whole Foods gets their Chilean Sea Bass since it’s in such trouble, yet it’s a GREEN light fish for them?!?! It stinks that it’s almost extinct too because it’s so dang DELICIOUS, although Sable Fish/ Black Cod comes pretty close! 🙂

    Reply

    • Thank you for your comment. I did a little bit more research since this is a whole new topic for me. In Whole Foods’ Seafood Sustainability statement, they say “We previously stopped selling especially vulnerable species such as non-MSC-certified Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, bluefin tuna, sharks, and marlins.” I went to the MSC’s (Marine Stewardship Council) website, and they list some Georgia fishery that raises Chilean Sea Bass (also known as the South Georgia toothfish) as certified for sustainable practices. Apparently, it is the only certified fishery for Chilean Sea Bass. I can only assume that is where Whole Foods buys its Chilean Sea Bass (I hope so anyway).

      Reply

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