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Where to Buy Fish

Updated on August 17, 2016

More and more people are becoming health and environment conscious when buying food and want to know how to choose seafood properly and where to buy fish so that it's best quality for you and for the nature. Since fish farming is raising more and more concern, and possible presence of mercury in fish is even more alerting, I decided to write this hub about fish buying options and what options are most sustainable.

Best Option

In the past five years, there has been a boom of community-supported fisheries: fisherman-to-consumer co-ops where shoppers can purchase a share in a responsible local fishery at the beginning of the season and, as with community-supported agriculture programs, receive regular deliveries throughout the season. You can find local community-supported fisheries at Local Catch website.

Good Option

Wouldn't it be nice to roll into your local supermarket and feel okay about buying any of its seafood? Happily, there are a handful of places where that's possible, according to an annual report from Greenpeace. More than 26 chains are ranked, and here are the top four:

  • Whole Foods
  • Safeway
  • Wegmans
  • Trader Joe's

A full 22 chains stayed out of Greenpeace's red zone. Check out this infographic to see the full ranking.

Where do you buy fish?

See results

Okay Option

Most American-caught seafood is fished responsibly, so you are often safe buying from a local fisherman, whether at your farmers' market or a fismonger you trust.

Look for Aquaculture Stewardship Council label when choosing fish
Look for Aquaculture Stewardship Council label when choosing fish | Source

What About Farmed Salmon?

The US exports millions of pounds of wild salmon every year, yet two-thirds of the salmon Americans eat is farmed. Salmon farming has improved in recent years, but some farms (even in the US) still use antibiotics and have problems managing the millions of gallons of waste they produce. Look for wild salmon first (canned, frozen, or fresh); if you can't find it, choose fillets bearing the Aquaculture Stewardship Council label, a new international designation attesting to safe, sustainable practices.

What About the Presence of Mercury in Fish?

Mercury in fish can be harmful. Especially, it's a cause for concern for pregnant and breastfeeding women. To calculate the mercury load of the fish you are about to it - and whether it will put you out of the safe zone for the week - enter the type of fish into the Natural Resources Defense Council's Mercury Calculator.

Fish2Fork fish buying ranking of my local restaurants
Fish2Fork fish buying ranking of my local restaurants | Source

Check out more articles on healthy eating

Ordering Fish in a Restaurant

About 70% of all seafood meals are prepared in restaurants. Ordering like a sustainability champ is tricky; here is a starting point:

  • Chat up the waiter. Ask where the fish comes from and how it was caught. Places with responsible practices tend to have well-informed staff. Or eat at seaside spots in fishing communities - they are more likely to offer catch from the sea next door.
  • Too bad that reliably smart choices like anchovies and sardines aren't typically on a menu. Mussels and clams are always a good fallback, but if you go to the shellfish route, why not pay someone to shuck some oysters for you? Striped bass, fluke, and black sea bass are usually better choices - squid too.
  •, based in the UK, rates restaurants by their buying standards in six different countries, including the US. Good restaurants earn one to five blue fish icons; poor performers are flagged with one to five red skeletons.

We have talked about best places where to buy fish. Check out the places to avoid in this video.


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    • Shushanik profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you found the information useful!

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image


      4 years ago from Florida


      This is indeed valuable information, and I am shocked by the worst places to buy fish. And, another issue that we need to be aware of is--- many groceries get their fish from other countries. Chicken of the Sea outsource tuna to be processed in another county and then sent back to the USA.

      Check the cans of Salmon before you buy---some come from other countries. Be a savvy shopper in buying all processed goods. It is scary and unhealthy the way food is sometimes processed.

      Have a great 2015.

      Bobbi Purvis

      I am sharing this with Twitter and on my re-pin board at Pinterest.


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