Looking Out for Our Fishy Friends: Sustainable Seafood


“There are only so many fish in the sea,” reads a prompt when you click on the weblink for Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, a program that promotes sustainable seafood, a growing movement.

What’s it all about? Look at the root word sustain and you’ll get the drift: It’s about helping to sustain both the species and the ecosystem by making responsible consumer choices. The idea, in a nutshell, is to choose seafood that is plentiful and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.

Some local seafood restaurants are showing their support for the idea by making responsible choices of their own.

“We don’t want to serve fish that’s either endangered or whose numbers are declining rapidly,” says Scott Sagerdahl, general manager of Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar in Sacramento’s Loehmann’s Plaza. “When the fishing season is cut off for salmon, for instance, we feel it’s not responsible to purchase it.”
At McCormick & Schmick’s, a consumer’s choices are made easier by the menu, which indicates specifically where the seafood is from, whether it’s halibut out of Sitka, Ala., or yellowfin tuna from Panama City, Fla. Origin, according to Seafood Watch, is one of the factors consumers need to consider in choice of fish. Other factors: whether it’s farmed or wild, and how it was caught.

Confused? Don’t be. Just carry Seafood Watch’s handy-dandy pocket guide, which provides itemized lists of what to eat and what to avoid. You can find it at montereybayaquarium.org (click the link for “Seafood Watch”).