Publisher's Note: As mercury levels in fish rise each year, some concerned consumers opt to avoid consuming fish altogether because of potential health risks. Today, many health practitioners stand behind this choice. We wanted to help New Life Journal readers who do choose to eat fish find the most sustainable options. So, we asked Tobias Aguirre from FishWise to share the ins and outs of sustainable seafood choices.
Between health warnings, environmental issues, mercury scares, mislabeling, and worries over contaminated imports, making a responsible seafood choice has become a difficult task.
In this time, it's important to ask some particular questions of your restaurants and grocers that can help you identify what you're eating and understand the impacts of your choices.
DO YOU SERVE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD?
Some restaurants are starting to advertise on their menus that they carry sustainable products. Ask which seafood dishes are prepared with sustainable seafood.
WHAT KIND OF FISH IS THIS, REALLY?
When you buy fish, you're not always getting what you think you're buying. When you buy red snapper, you could be getting rockfish or actual snapper, two unrelated species. Chilean seabass, black seabass and white seabass are not all seabass; so, be sure to ask your seafood seller or server exactly what kind of fish you're buying.
IS IT FARMED OR WILD?
Many people are surprised when they find out that some of their favorite fish is farmed. Many farmed fish are considered sustainable while some are not. In general, freshwater-farmed fish, like tilapia and catfish, are sustainable, while ocean-farmed fish, like salmon and shrimp, aren't. Be sure to ask whether the fish is farmed or wild and if it is from freshwater or the ocean.
WHERE DID THIS FISH COME FROM?
Most of the time, your fish has traveled farther than you! This question is important because every country has its own laws regulating fishing. In general, the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have the most rules in place to protect fish species.
HOW WAS THIS FISH CAUGHT?
If a wild-caught fish is on the menu or available at your store, be sure to ask how it was caught. Some fishing methods are destructive to the environment, like trawling or dredging. Other methods produce high by-catch, like pelagic (open water) long lines. On the other hand, methods like trolling, hook and line, or traps have low impact on the environment. By choosing...