New Englander’s love their seafood and we deepen our love affair every summer when our favorite crustaceans, ‘lobstah’ is a plentiful. But what is the best seafood for us and what are the ones that we should be staying away from regardless of how yummy they may be? Monterey Bay Aquarium has combined data from leading health organizations and environmental groups to come up with their list “Super Green: Best of the Best” of seafood that’s good for you and good for the environment. To make the list, fish must: a) have low levels of contaminants—below 216 parts per billion [ppb] mercury and 11 ppb PCBs; b) be high in health-promoting omega-3 fats; and c) come from a sustainable fishery.
Many other options are on the program’s list of “Best Choices” (seafoodwatch.org). The Blue Ocean Institute (blueocean.org) also has sustainability ratings and detailed information.
1. Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
2. Salmon (wild-caught, Alaska)
3. Oysters (farmed)
4. Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught)
5. Rainbow Trout (farmed)
6. Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
A number of environmental organizations have also advocated taking many fish off the menu. The large fish listed here are examples of popular fish that are both depleted and, in many cases, carry higher levels of mercury and PCBs. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has also posted health advisories on some of these fish at edf.org.
1. Bluefin Tuna
2. Chilean Sea Bass
5. Orange Roughy
6. Salmon (farmed)
The good news is that you don’t see American Maine Lobsters on this list, however, on the Seafoodwatch.org site they do list American Maine Lobsters as a fish to “avoid”. This is referring primarily to lobsters trapped in Southern New England. These are listed as “high risk” primarily due to the traps entangling North Atlantic right whales, one of the most critically endangered whales in the world. Seafoodwatch.org states, “Though the fishery is complying with all the regulations, whales continue to become entangled in lobster fishing gear, in large part because of the sheer volume of gear in the water.”