On a trip to Sandy's Living Planet Aquarium last month during "Shark Week," I picked up a handy little business-card-size guide that I plan to use when cooking at home and dining out.
It's a "Seafood Watch" rating guide published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The "Best Choices" are abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. The "Good Alternatives" are possible dining options, but there are concerns with how those fish are caught or farmed or with the health of their habitat. And the publishers recommend consumers avoid listed items that are caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.
The pamphlet also lists seafood that should be eaten only in limited quantities due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants, and it lists fisheries that are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council standard.
The list is updated regularly, and if you can't get your hands on a copy of the pamphlet, you can view it at www.seafoodwatch.org.
I love seafood, but I'm also aware that some fishing and fish-farming practices harm habitats, other animal species and seabeds and rivers. The good news is, many in the industry are working to change that, implementing sustainable harvesting and farming practices that result in delicious, healthy, disease-free seafood.There are plenty of good, guilt-free choices out there: Dungeness crab, Pacific halibut, spiny lobster, farmed mussels and oysters, wild Alaska pollock and salmon, farmed rainbow trout, domestic shrimp ... makes my mouth water just thinking about it. And the thought that my choices can help marine life and the environment is pretty tasty, too.
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: [email protected]