Green Choices: Seafood Buyer’s Guide

Which labels to look for at the fish counter.

You may have decided to buy wild vs. farmed salmon but finding other sustainable seafood isn’t an easy task. At present the USDA has no organic certification program for seafood (an organic seafood label may mean nothing or that the fish was certified “organic” overseas). For sound environmental information, go the Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch websites. At the fish counter, look for the labels listed below.

Marine Stewardship Council

Marine Stewardship CouncilFisheries and fish farms sporting this label have paid to be certified for the condition of available stocks, the management system and the impact on the environment. Products can be traced directly back to the source.

Eco-benefits: The statistics on global fish stocks are grim: 52 percent of fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that they are being fished at their maximum biological capacity; 24 percent are overexploited, meaning they are depleted or recovering from depletion; and 21 percent are moderately exploited.

Is it regulated? Yes. The agency certification lasts for five years with yearly audits.

Keep in mind: Fish without the label may be equally sustainable but the farms and fisheries from which they came might have chosen not to invest in certification.

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