ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Resources for Selecting Sustainable Fish at the Grocery Store

Updated on March 29, 2012

Maybe you’ve heard: our oceans are badly overfished. The last major source of wild food on our plates is in a state of collapse. According to the best estimates, 75% of global fish stocks have been fished at or beyond sustainable levels, leaving ocean ecosystems in a damaged state, and a major protein source for many cultures at risk.

Aquaculture, the raising of aquatic species for food, is exploding in growth on the global food market. About 50% of the fish in our food systems are now farm raised. So that’s good right? That takes the pressure off the dwindling wild stocks? Not always unfortunately. Many farmed fish are actually fed with wild caught stock, putting further pressure on threatened species. And off-shore “open net” aquaculture pens pose environmental problems; fish can escape and become an invasive species issue for example. These farmed fish are also often fed vast amounts of antibiotics and chemicals to make them grow faster and adapt to the unnatural crowded conditions. These additives spread into the ocean affecting wild fish, and contaminate our bodies when we eat them. Generally the most sustainable form of aquaculture is recirculating closed loop systems, in which the water is recycled, the fish waste used as fertilizer, and the whole system operates inland away from the open ocean. However, you won’t find on any fish labels the exact method of farming practiced.

So as a concerned consumer, what do you choose: wild or farmed? Well, it’s complicated... some fish it’s better to buy wild because they are harvested using acceptable techniques, but for others the population stocks may simply be too depleted and thus it’s better to buy farmed.

With so much to think about and the rules changing depending on the type of fish and where you live, several environmental organizations have created guides that help you shop smart at the grocery store. See below five of the most popular ones made by different environmental groups (click on the name):

1.) Greenpeace

As well as creating a “Red List” of fish definitely to avoid eating, Greenpeace has compiled a

- “Supermarket Scorecard.” A national rating of how different supermarkets fare in providing sustainable fish options.

- “Search your supermarket.” A quick and easy online tool for searching the most fish-friendly supermarkets in your state.

2) Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch

Choose your region of the United States and download the “pocket guide” or iPhone/Android app. The shopping guide contains three lists of fish: Best, Good Alternatives, and fish to Avoid.

3) Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector

Also a pocket guide, EDF has separated fish into Eco-Best, Eco-Ok, and Eco-Worst, based on whether it was wild caught or farmed, and where it came from. They also put green hearts next to the fish with the most health benefits (high in omega 3s), and red hearts for those that typically are contaminated with pollutants (like mercury).

4) Food and Water Watch Seafood Buying Guide

This fact sheet highlights seven questions to ask your grocer before buying fish, and provides more information on the significance of different seafood labels, such as organic, and MSC (Marine Stewardship Council).

5) Blue Ocean Institute Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood

Very in-depth and more scientific, on this website you can search for your “favorite seafood” and find a profile on the ecological pros or cons of this species. That includes how the species is usually raised or caught, what it is fed if farmed, and its risk to other species.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Yikes, I had no idea that some farmed fish were fed wild stock... talk about defeating a lot of the purpose! Thanks for the great resources!

    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      Great guide to selecting sustainable fish at stores. I've often wondered about this and you've provided the answers I've been looking for. Voted up and useful!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)