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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.

 

Sustainable Seafood Advice

Blue Ocean Institute, led by noted marine biologist Carl Safina, has a Guide to Ocean-Friendly Seafood that gives each species of fish a green (good), yellow or red (avoid) rating. For example, green fish are relatively abundant and their fishing or farming methods do little damage to natural habitats and other wildlife; a “red” rank means the species is subject to overfishing or is farmed using methods that harm the environment or wild fish. Search the guide (and download a wallet-size card of it) at blueoceaninstitute.org/seafood—or by entering fishphone.org into your PDA browser.

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommends fish based on current scientific data on environmental and health concerns and direct interactions with fishery and fish-farm operators. Visit the website montereybayaquarium.org or access its guides on your cell phone at seafoodwatch.org.

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