Please Explain: Sustainable Seafood and Seafood Safety

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our latest Please Explain is all about seafood—how it’s harvested, what sustainable fishing entails, and how fish gets from the sea to your plate. We're joined by Sheila Bowman,  senior manager of outreach and education, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, and Dr. Gina Solomon, who is both a medical doctor and a senior scientist with Natural Resources Defense Council.


Sheila Bowman and Gina Solomon

Comments [22]

Ann from Forest Hills


Scrod is a young (2.5 lb/1.1 kg or less) cod or, less frequently, haddock, split and boned. It is a staple in many coastal New England and Atlantic Canada seafood and fish markets.

Dec. 10 2010 02:07 PM
Madeline from Brooklyn

Amen to Michelle from Long Island City.

No one who cares about the environment should be eating meat, or fish. They are not vital to human health, and their consumption is not sustainable for Earth's massive human population.

People have no concept of what is happening in the oceans. Today's fishing operations resemble "a war of extermination" against all marine life.

Dec. 10 2010 01:57 PM
Joel from Nyack, NY

What about the fact that for every pound of farmed salmon, it takes an several pounds of food including fish meal. Also, are there coloring agents in the farmed salmon's diet to enhance their color.

Dec. 10 2010 01:56 PM
Ann from Forest Hills/Honolulu

Please correct Dr. Solomon:

Ahi is the what the Hawaiians call Yellowfin and sometimes Bigeye Tuna.

In Hawai'i no one asked for "ahi tuna"....the "tuna" is implied!

Dec. 10 2010 01:56 PM
Susan from NYC

What about farmed fish from Ecuador? Is it any safer/cleaner than fish from Asia?

Dec. 10 2010 01:55 PM

Are cod and scrod the same fish? If not, are scrod sustainable?

Dec. 10 2010 01:55 PM
rebecca from Bushwick

I haven't heard the speaker from the Monterey Bay Aquarium mention that their list is available as a wallet-sized download on their website (by region). I often refer to mine at the market. It's great!

Dec. 10 2010 01:53 PM
neal from Florence, Italy

know anything about Perch from African lakes, which we get fresh and cheap here in Italy?

Dec. 10 2010 01:51 PM
Mary from East Village

Could you please dispel the myth that vegetarians eat fish? There's a separate word for people who eat fish but not other animals: pescetarian. I'm tired of people who wouldn't take me to a steak house suggesting sushi or seafood restaurants because "some vegetarians eat fish". I've never met a vegetarian who eats seafood or fish!

Dec. 10 2010 01:49 PM
Joel from Nyack, NY

to Andy from Brooklyn; Why would you want to eat canned tuna? It tastes nothing like fresh tuna. I find most of it inedible.

Dec. 10 2010 01:49 PM
Michelle from Long Island City

Can we really talk about "sustainable" seafood in the very long term? It seems that, with population growth proceeding on its current trendline and the world's need for protein intensifying by the day, for future generations, it really isn't sustainable to continue consuming any form of meat at our current levels. At the very least shouldn't we be encouraging less meat consumption overall, including fish>

Dec. 10 2010 01:49 PM
Joel from Nyack, NY

How do we avoid the farm raised fish from questionable sources, often China and Vietnam, etc? A NY Times article a couple of years ago highlighted the environment that many of these fish are raised in.

Dec. 10 2010 01:47 PM
Shari from South River, New Jersey

I'd also like to know how vegetarian sources of Omega-3s compare to fish sources.

Also: I thought I'd heard that farm-raised fish weren't as healthy because they're swimming in filthy water (sort of like the abuses with other livestock raised for food, with overcrowding, etc.)

How do your guests respond to this?

Dec. 10 2010 01:46 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

So, should we or should we not eat the most popular form of fish consumed - canned tuna?

Dec. 10 2010 01:44 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Is it true that farm animals consume 17 percent of wild-caught fish? That pigs and chickens consume double the amount of fish than Japan?


Dec. 10 2010 01:44 PM
Catherine from Williamsburg

Can you talk about Sardines? I hear they're lower in mercury, etc, and very healthy but are there environmental issues with them? Where do they come from for the most part? What about BPA in canned sardines...?

Also, do you know anything about Sardines increasing dopamine in your system?



Dec. 10 2010 01:42 PM
Dana Jacobi from New York City

How acceptable is eating the wild sweet shrimp caught around Maine/Canada from now until March, which I see soled bith fresh and frozen. I understand there is also a variety of these tiny, delicious shrimp in the Pacific, too. Is that more or less vulnerable.

Dec. 10 2010 01:42 PM
Amy from Manhattan

From what I've read, the omega-3 fats from vegetarian sources (e.g., flaxseeds) don't have the same effects on heart health that those from fish do. (I'm a vegetatarian--a real one, who doesn't eat fish--& I'd like to get omega-3s in my diet w/out having to eat animals.)

Dec. 10 2010 01:41 PM
Madeline from Brooklyn

Please talk about bycatch. For American shrimp, the bycatch -- extra fish that are caught and are wasted -- is as much as 85% of the total catch.

Dec. 10 2010 01:41 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Are we still on schedule for the 2048 estimate when ocean fisheries are catastrophically depleted?

Dec. 10 2010 01:38 PM

We eat mostly domestic farmed catfish; my toddler loves it broiled with olive oil and garlic, and eats it several times a week. I've read that catfish is low in impurities, but sometimes I wonder if several times a week is still too much. Is it?
Also, is fish from South/Central America relatively safe, as compared with, say, fish from China?

Dec. 10 2010 01:34 PM
marc from manhattan

Please discuss allergies to shellfish.
Any connection to kashrut laws towards shellfish?

Marc, Manhattan

Dec. 10 2010 01:34 PM

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