Monkfish and the Minimalist: Choosing Ocean Friendly Seafood

Pin it button big

We were surprised to see Mark Bittman's recipe yesterday for Monkfish and Mashed Potatoes. The dish looks great, but the choice of fish? Not so much. Monkfish is high on the list of fish to avoid - high in mercury, overfished, and fished in a way that damages the ocean floor.

We've talked about Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood, and this is a reminder to us to check it frequently. This is one very important area of our food choices, and we're revisiting it. Link to guide and a best and worst of mercury in fish below!

The Blue Ocean Institute PDF is updated regularly with developments in the world of seafood, with flags on high-mercury fish and an easy guide to the most ocean friendly seafood to support with your food dollars. Download the guide and put a copy in your wallet or with your shopping list - it's a great resource.

Here are a few more links to guides and resources.

Seafood Guides
&bull Seafood Watch Program at Monterey Bay Aquarium
&bull Blue Ocean
&bull Mercury at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
&bull Oceans Alive: Seafood and Your Health
&bull Marine Stewardship Council

From the NRDC, a quick rundown on the best and worst of mercury levels in fish:

Highest Mercury
Mackerel (King)
Marlin
Orange Roughy
Shark
Swordfish
Tilefish
Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)

Lowest Mercury (and fewer other environmental issues)
Anchovies
Butterfish
Catfish
Clam
Crab (Domestic)
Crawfish/Crayfish
Croaker (Atlantic)
Hake
Herring
Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)
Mullet
Oyster
Perch (Ocean)
Plaice
Pollock
Wild Salmon (Canned)
Wild Salmon (Fresh)
Sardine
Shad (American)
Sole (Pacific)
Squid (Calamari)
Tilapia
Trout (Freshwater)
Whitefish
Whiting

And the Minimalist's recipe? We still think it looks really good - but we suggest making it with one of the alternate fish varieties that he offers. Farmed catfish is a good option, since it ranks decently well on the Guide's list and suits the recipe too.

Related Links
Fish on Fridays and Then Some Helps Maintain Youthful Brains
Fish on Fridays: Striped Bass
Mercury in Fish 101
Ocean Friendly Seafood Guide