Seafood consumption comes with a handful of health benefits, but it can be challenging to determine which seafood items are good to eat and which are destroying the health of the ocean. To help navigate, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program offers assistance to businesses and consumers looking to make sustainable choices.
Recently Seafood Watch released their recommendations for January and through June of 2017 by state. Here's a brief primer on what you need to know from the report.
What You Need to Know About the Rating System
Through their website, iOS and Android app, and downloadable guides, the Seafood Watch program categorizes seafood into three buckets: Best Choices, Good Alternatives, and Avoid.
Best Choices is what they recommend consumers buy first, as "they're well managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife." Good Alternatives are okay to purchase, but consumers should "be aware there are concerns with how they're caught or farmed." Meanwhile, for Avoid, consumers should know "they're overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment."
The January Update from Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch
In their January update, the organization added new recommendations for the channel catfish (Avoid), giant red sea cucumber (Best Choice), walleye (Best Choice), Antarctic krill (Good Alternative), blue mussels (Good Alternative) and wahoo (Good Alternative). They also updated their recommendations for abalone, Atlantic salmon, red drum, and big eye and yellowfin tuna. The big eye and yellowfin tuna went from Avoid to Good Alternative, as did the sea-ranched abalone.
The importance of sustainable seafood cannot be overstated — it ensures human consumption of seafood does not leave a negative and lasting impact on the ocean's ecosystem. Around the world, roughly one-third of fish populations are being overfished, according to the National Resources Defense Council. With more sustainable practices and consumption, you can have your seafood and eat it, too.
Read more: Consumer Guides from Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch