During a recent visit to Whole Foods, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that their seafood section had sustainability rankings. Every product had either a “best choice,” “good alternative,” or “avoid” label, indicated by bright green, yellow, or red stickers respectively. This commendable system was developed in collaboration with the Blue Ocean Institute. Although Whole Foods has already phased out red-rated fisheries like swordfish and tuna, they plan to completely eliminate all red-rated fisheries by 2013. This initiative is a promising step towards combating the critical issue of overfishing.
The Problem of Overfishing
Over the past few decades, overfishing has emerged as a significant concern worldwide. Disturbingly, estimates by organizations like Oceana suggest that 80% of the world’s oceans are over-exploited. When the demand for fish surpasses their ability to reproduce, their populations decline rapidly, leaving little chance for recovery. Additionally, bycatch, which refers to unintentional capture of marine animals in nets and bottom trawls, contributes to this problem.
Three Essential Seafood Apps
Thankfully, sustainable seafood consumption is an achievable goal. To help you navigate the choices and make informed decisions, I present three highly recommended apps. These apps will guide you in selecting seafood that aligns with sustainability principles, whether you’re purchasing it or dining out.
## 1) Seafood Watch: Your Ultimate Companion
Undoubtedly the best app available, Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a comprehensive set of features. Using your phone’s GPS, it automatically provides you with the relevant regional guide. Moreover, the app introduces Project FishMap, an innovative function that assists you in locating restaurants serving sustainable seafood near your current location. You’ll also find a sushi guide, listing fish names in both Japanese and English. Should you stumble upon seafood on the “avoid” list, the app suggests sustainable alternatives. To ensure clarity, the app includes a glossary explaining fishing terms such as gillnetting, pelagic trawling, and hydraulic dredging. The color-coded seafood ratings make it incredibly easy to identify the best choices (green), good alternatives (yellow), and ones to avoid (red). Best of all, Seafood Watch can be downloaded free of charge.
## 2) FishPhone: An Excellent Resource
Developed by the Blue Ocean Institute, the organization that provides ratings for Whole Foods, FishPhone is another highly recommended app. Similar to Seafood Watch, it offers a ranking system and suggests alternatives to overfished species. However, FishPhone goes a step further by providing five categories: “relatively abundant” (green), “somewhat abundant” (light green), “somewhat problematic” (yellow), “low abundance” (orange), and “problematic” (red). Additionally, the app even includes delectable recipes and wine pairings to complement your seafood choices. While it lacks regional information about local fish markets or sustainable restaurant options, FishPhone remains an exceptional app. Plus, it comes with an unbeatable price tag – free!
## 3) Safe Seafood: A Quick and Convenient Guide
Safe Seafood is a minimalist app offering rankings for over 100 different types of seafood. Each species comes with a photo, description, and a convenient Wikipedia link for further information. The app categorizes seafood into “enjoy!” (green), “eat in moderation” (orange), and “avoid” (red). Although Safe Seafood lacks additional features such as a glossary, GPS functionality, or recipes and wine pairings, it serves as an efficient and user-friendly guide. Purchasing this app only costs $0.99, and the developers generously donate 10% of all proceeds to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Expanding Your Knowledge on Sustainable Seafood
If you’re interested in delving further into the world of sustainable seafood, I recommend exploring the benefits and drawbacks of farmed fish. It’s also essential to familiarize yourself with the prevalent issue of mislabeled seafood and the disturbing practice of shark finning.
For more information on sustainable seafood, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill – a fantastic resource that prioritizes eco-friendly dining experiences.
Remember, by making conscious choices, we can all contribute towards a healthier and more sustainable future for our oceans!