Should you eat tuna? Scallops? Abalone?

When it comes to making a choice for what goes on the dining table, we usually just think of what tickles our taste buds – not sustainable ones. Plus picking the most sustainable seafood is not always easy.

Sustainable seafood is seafood that’s farmed or fished in a way that allows a species to maintain its population and does not damage the habitats. Anything that is overfished or trawled is not sustainable.

Two obvious difficulties in choosing to consume sustainable seafood: hard to know the source of the seafood (especially if you eat out) and not everyone agrees on what should be on the table (and what should be taken off). Both can be overcame with some effort – by buying from credible sources and picking one standard to follow.

Still, there are some obvious species that we should try to avoid. In our first post on sustainable seafood, we tested your knowledge on six seafood types. Here are six more.

salmonATLANTIC SALMON, worldwide, aquacultured

Environmental problems associated with farming Atlantic salmon, like the increased likelihood of diseases spreading to wild fish population, have make this fish an ‘avoid’. Salmon farmers have improved their practices but for now, best to avoid.

Conclusion: Avoid. Seafood Watch suggests wild-caught salmon from regions like Alaska and California instead.

 

scallopsSCALLOPSChina, aquacultured

Scallop farms are generally well-established. Farming of scallops can have positive effects on the ecosystem. As filter feeders, scallops sieve out particles, unwanted nutrients and silt in the water, which improve the overall health of the marine environment.

Conclusion: Can eat.

 

marblegrouperBROWN MARBLE GROUPER, Indonesia, aquacultured

In grouper aquaculture, juvenile fishes are often illegally captured for rearing as hatcheries are not very successful with producing young groupers. Mortality rate in grouper ponds is high from bacterial and parasitic infections.

Conclusion: Avoid. Try Chilean sea bass (Georgia, UK), coral trout (Australia) instead.

 

green-lippedmusselsGREEN-LIPPED MUSSELSNew Zealand, aquacultured

Mussels are also filter feeders and sieve food from the water. This means that growing them in abundance poses very little threat to the environment. They improve the water quality when they remove excess nutrients and particles from the environment when they feed.

Conclusion: Can eat.

 

bluefintunaBLUEFIN TUNA, worldwide, wild-caught

Bluefin tunas are slow-growing animals that mature late in their lives. They are currently overfished, being caught faster than they can reproduce. If they continue to be removed from the oceans, they face a high risk of extinction.

Conclusion: Avoid. Try yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna instead.

 

abaloneABALONE, Australia, wild-caught

Wherever abalone spot harvesting is allowed in Australia, the species, minimum catch size and amount collected are strictly controlled.

Conclusion: Can eat.

How did you fare? Test your knowledge from part 1 if you haven’t.

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