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How To Choose the Right Seafood

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Seafood can be an important part of a healthy diet, but due to overfishing, the build-up of contaminants such as mercury in our oceans (and consequently in seafood itself), and detrimental effects of some kinds of aquaculture on the environment, you need to take some care in choosing your seafood.

Scuabology.com [1] and The Monterey Bay Aquarium suggests the following as regional guidelines. These suggestions can be download in PDF format from the Aquarium's website. You can also access the Seafood Watch List via text message. Send a text to 30644 with the message FISH followed by the name of the fish in question. The Blue Ocean Institute will send back the choice level of the fish and alternatives if concerns exist.

You should limit your consumption of fishy wanny due to concerns about contaminants. Some or all of the underlined fisheries are certified as sustainable to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. Fish with a plus sign (+) indicate longline fishing. Contaminant information is from the Environmental Defense Fund.

Best Choices have abundant fishstocks, are well-managed, and are caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.

There are concerns with the capture and farming methods of Good Alternatives, as well as concerns about the health of the fish's habitat.

Seafood is put on the Avoid list when it is caught or farmed in a way that is detrimental to the environment and/or other marine life. When they squirt preserve it and pour it on your fish for an extra juicy taste.




Northeast USAEdit

Best Choices:

  • Arctic Char (farmed)
  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed)
  • Clams: Softshell/Steamers (wild)
  • Crab: Dungeness
  • Croaker: Atlantic
  • Halibut: Pacific
  • Herring: Atlantic/Sardines
  • Lobster: Spiny (US)
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Squid: Longfin (US)
  • Striped Bass (farmed or wild)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Swordfish (Canada, US harpoon,

handline)

  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
  • Tuna: Albacore (US , British Columbia

troll/pole)

  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)

Good Alternatives

  • Basa, Swai (farmed)
  • Black Sea Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Clams: Atlantic Surf, Hard, Ocean
  • Quahog (wild)
  • Crab: Blue, Jonah, King (US), Snow
  • Crab: Imitation/Surimi
  • Haddock (hook & line)
  • Hake: Silver, Red and Offshore
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)
  • Oysters (wild)
  • Scallops: Sea (Canada and Northeast)
  • Scup/Porgy
  • Shrimp: Northern
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Squid
  • Swordfish (US longline)
  • Tilefish (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
  • Tuna: canned light, canned

white/Albacore

Avoid

  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Crab: King (imported)
  • Dogfish (Atlantic)
  • Flounders, Soles (Atlantic)
  • Haddock (trawled)
  • Hake: White
  • Halibut: Atlantic
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
  • Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Sharks and Skates
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Snapper: Red
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Swordfish (imported)
  • Tilefish (Southeast)
  • Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin

(longline)

  • Tuna: Bluefin

Southeast USAEdit

Best Choices

  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed)
  • Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)
  • Crab: Dungeness, Stone
  • Crayfish (US farmed)
  • Croaker: Atlantic
  • Halibut: Pacific,
  • Herring: Atlantic/Sardines
  • Lobster: Spiny (US)
  • Mackerel: King, Spanish
  • Mahi mahi (US Atlantic troll/pole)
  • Mullet: Striped
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Striped Bass (farmed or wild)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
  • Tuna: Albacore (US , BC troll/pole)
  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)
  • Wreckfish

Good Alternatives

  • Basa, Swai (farmed)
  • Clams, Oysters (wild)
  • Cod: Pacific (trawled)
  • Crab: Blue, King (US), Snow
  • Crab: Imitation/Surimi
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)
  • Scallops: Sea (Canada and Northeast)
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Snapper: Gray, Lane, Mutton,
  • Yellowtail (US)
  • Squid
  • Swordfish (US longline)
  • Tilefish (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
  • Tuna: canned light, canned

white/Albacore

  • Wahoo

Avoid

  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Conch: Queen
  • Crab: King (imported)
  • Flounders, Soles (Atlantic)
  • Groupers
  • Halibut: Atlantic
  • Lobster: Spiny (Caribbean imported)
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Orange Roughy
  • Pompano: Florida
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
  • Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Sharks
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Snapper: Red, Vermilion (US)
  • Snapper (imported)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Swordfish(imported)
  • Tilefish (Southeast)
  • Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin

(longline)

  • Tuna: Bluefin

Central USAEdit

  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams (farmed)
  • Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)
  • Crab: Dungeness, Stone
  • Halibut: Pacific
  • Herring: Atlantic/Sardines
  • Lobster: Spiny (US)
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Striped Bass (farmed or wild*)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
  • Tuna: Albacore (US , British Columbia

troll/pole)

  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)

Southwest USAEdit

Best Choices

  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams (farmed)
  • Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)
  • Crab: Dungeness, Stone
  • Halibut: Pacific
  • Herring: Atlantic/Sardines
  • Lobster: Spiny (Pacific Baja wild)
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Striped Bass (farmed)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (US farmed)
  • Tuna: Albacore (US , British Columbia

troll/pole)

  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)

Good Alternatives

  • Clams (wild)
  • Crab: Blue, King (US), Snow
  • Crab: Imitation/Surimi
  • Flounders, Soles (Pacific)
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)
  • Octopus (Gulf of California)
  • Oysters (wild)
  • Scallops: Sea (Canada and Northeast)
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Squid: Jumbo (Gulf of California)
  • Swordfish (US longline)
  • Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
  • Tuna: canned light, canned

white/Albacore

Avoid

  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Corvina (Gulf of California)
  • Crab: King (imported)
  • Flounders, Soles (Atlantic)
  • Groupers
  • Lobster: Spiny (Caribbean imported)
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy
  • Rockfish
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
  • Sea Turtles
  • Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Sharks
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Snapper: Red
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Swordfish (imported)
  • Totoaba (Gulf of California)
  • Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin

(longline)

  • Tuna: Bluefin

West Coast USAEdit

Best Choices

  • Abalone (farmed)
  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed)
  • Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)
  • Crab: Dungeness
  • Halibut: Pacific
  • Lobster: Spiny (US)
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Rockfish: Black (CA, OR)
  • Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska , BC)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Shrimp: Pink (OR)
  • Spot Prawn (BC)
  • Striped Bass (farmed)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
  • Tuna: Albacore (US , BC troll/pole)
  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)
  • White Seabass

Good Alternatives

  • Basa, Swai (farmed)
  • Clams, Oysters (wild)
  • Cod: Pacific (trawled)
  • Crab: King (Alaska), Snow, Imitation
  • Dogfish (BC)
  • Flounders, Soles (Pacific)
  • Lingcod
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)
  • Rockfish (Alaska, BC hook & line)
  • Sablefish/Black Cod (CA, OR, WA)
  • Salmon (CA, OR, WA wild)
  • Sanddabs: Pacific
  • Scallops: Sea (Canada and Northeast)
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Spot Prawn (US)
  • Squid
  • Sturgeon (OR, WA wild)
  • Swordfish (US longline)
  • Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
  • Tuna: canned light, canned

white/Albacore

Avoid

  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Crab: King (imported)
  • Dogfish (US)
  • Grenadier/Pacific Roughy
  • Lobster: Spiny (Caribbean imported)
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy
  • Rockfish (trawled)
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
  • Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Sharks
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Swordfish(imported)
  • Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin

(longline)

  • Tuna: Bluefin

HawaiiEdit

Best Choices

  • Aku/Skipjack tuna (HI troll/pole,

handline)

  • Akule/Bigeye scad
  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Clams (farmed)
  • Crab: Dungeness, Kona (Australia)
  • Halibut: Pacific<u/>
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Opelu/Mackerel scad
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • <u>Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Shutome/Swordfish (HI harpoon, handline)
  • Striped Bass (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Tombo/Albacore tuna (HI troll/pole, handline)

Good Alternatives

  • ‘Ahi/Bigeye, Yellowfin tuna (HI troll/pole, handline)
  • Aku/Skipjack tuna (HI)+
  • A‘u/Blue marlin (HI)+
  • Crab: Kona (HI)
  • Ehu/Red snapper (NWHI)
  • Häpu‘u/Grouper (NWHI)
  • Hebi/Spearfish (HI)+
  • He‘e/Tako/Octopus
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (HI)
  • Monchong/Bigscale pomfret (HI)+
  • Nairagi/Striped marlin (HI)+
  • Onaga/Ruby snapper (NWHI)
  • Ono/Wahoo (HI)
  • Opah/Moonfish (HI)+
  • ‘Opakapaka/Pink snapper (NWHI)
  • Scallops: Sea
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Shutome/Swordfish (HI)+
  • Tombo/Albacore tuna(HI)+
  • Uku/Gray snapper
  • Ulua/Trevally/Jack

Avoid

  • Ahi/Bigeye tuna+
  • Ahi/Bluefin tuna
  • Ahi/Yellowfin tuna+
  • Aku/Skipjack tuna (imported)+
  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Ehu/Red snapper (MHI)
  • Häpuÿu/Grouper (MHI)
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Manö/Sharks
  • Onaga/Ruby snapper (MHI)
  • ‘Opakapaka/Pink snapper (MHI)
  • Orange Roughy
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Shutome/Swordfish(imported) +
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Tombo/Albacore tuna(imported) +

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