October 2009

One fish, two fish, red fish, green fish

by Sally on October 21, 2009

j0438839As a child of the 70s in landlocked Western Pennsylvania, I didn’t eat a lot of fish. (Let me clarify: I ate tuna from a can. A lot of tuna from a can. I may have been an infamously drive-my-mother-to-tears picky eater, but I would happily scarf down a big bowl of egg noodles and canned tuna, covered with a pile of grated parmesan cheese-food. Good times.)

Flash forward a decade or three, and fish is one of my favorite meals. In fact, I’ve never met a fish I didn’t like. But lately, I’ve felt a little clueless approaching the seafood counter or ordering off the menu. There’s the issue of omega-3 fatty acids. There’s the mercury thing and the PCBs thing. The farmed-versus-wild debate. And now the overfished-fish problem.

So I was relieved to see it all figured out for me on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Super Green List“. The fish on this list are all low in mercury and PCBs, rich in omega-3s, abundant, and caught (or farmed) in environmentally friendly ways.

Their “Best of the Best” Picks:

* Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
* Mussels (farmed)
* Oysters (farmed)
* Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
* Pink Shrimp (wild-caught, from Oregon)
* Rainbow Trout (farmed)
* Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
* Spot Prawns (wild-caught, from British Columbia)

Their “Other Healthy Best Choices” picks that are lower in omega-3s but still “green” choices and low in contaminants:

* Arctic Char (farmed)
* Bay Scallops (farmed)
* Crayfish (farmed, from the U.S.)
* Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from California, Oregon or Washington)
* Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from the U.S. Atlantic)
* Pacific Cod (longline-caught, from Alaska)

Their website also allows you to search by fish variety to find the “greenest” catch possible. For instance, they rate farmed tilapia as best and farmed tilapia from Central America as okay–but advise against farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan because of high pollutant levels and poor environmental regulations. Good stuff to know.

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