Sustainable Seafood: A Delicious Way to Keep Our Oceans Healthy
For many people looking for healthy alternatives, seafood has become a favorite go-to weeknight or special occasion staple. It’s great for you, it’s delicious and it’s diverse, with choices from plump and juicy shrimp to hearty salmon steaks offering a wide array of menu possibilities for the health-conscious cook.
The only problem? Our love affair with seafood is taking its toll on the world’s oceans. Today’s ultra efficient fishing techniques have resulted in the loss of as much as 90 percent of the ocean’s predatory fish, including cod, shark and swordfish. With 170 billion tons (yes, billion) of fish and shellfish caught in the world’s oceans every year, the fish population is having a hard time keeping up.
Enter “sustainable seafood,” a movement to ensure fish are caught or farmed in a way that helps replenish and reduce harm to the world’s oceans. From restricting harmful fishing methods to developing and maintaining well-managed fish farms, sustainable seafood practices help keep our oceans healthy—and allow consumers to make informed choices when shopping or eating out.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s SeafoodWatch provides a detailed list of which fish and shellfish to avoid and which are considered “best choices” to reduce impact on our oceans. High on its list of approved seafood: Pacific wild-caught halibut, U.S.-farmed striped bass and farmed mussels, clams and oysters. While not all retailers and restaurants provide and promote sustainable seafood, it is a growing trend. So when you’re shopping and dining, don’t be afraid to ask where your fish came from.
The next time you’re creating your weekly menu for the family or coming up with a great dinner party dish, try incorporating one of these “best choices” in the mix:
Farmed clams: Some 89 percent of clams consumed in the world today are farmed; well-managed, low environmental impact farms make this tasty shellfish a sustainable choice. Use farmed clams in our Baked Clams with Wheat Germ recipe.
Wild-caught Alaska coho salmon: Salmon is a delicious and easy weeknight entrée, especially when you roast it with a lovely shallot butter, lemon and breadcrumb topping (try substituting some wheat germ for a portion of the breadcrumbs).