Fish: What Practices Are Actually Sustainable?

Alright. I know I’ve told you guys about Overfishing.org and the Monterey Bay Aquarium sustainable fish sites. And I still hold to the fact that those are the best sites to look at before you decide which fish you’ll be cooking. There are, however, soooo many more ways to practice sustainable cooking when it comes to fish. This post will go a little more into those practices.

  1. This site tells you all about the environmental pros and cons of the different forms of fishing and farm fishing. It is not super detailed, however, it gives the basic information you should know.
  2. The Monterey Bay Aquarium site also talks about what to think/ask about when considering farmed fish. These are: use of marine resources, fish that are carnivorous and have to be fed other wild species, risk of escaped fish to wild stocks, risk of disease and parasite transfer to wild stocks, risk of pollution and habitat effects, and effectiveness of the management regime.
  3. Think about eating lower on the food chain. Smaller fish species, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, and sardines, do not need as long to reach full maturity and reproduce. Therefore, they tend to be found in larger, more sustainable numbers. Larger fish, such as tuna, reproduce at a much older age and take a very long time to mature. Therefore, they are being overfished and are not maintaining their numbers. Fish lower on the food chain also have less toxins because of reduced biomagnification.
  4. Make sure that the fisheries you’re buying from don’t have high bycatch numbers–> the amount of fish species being caught that are unintended.
  5. Avoid fish caught by trawling–>this involves dragging a net along the bottom of the water and can cause irreparable ecosystem damage.
  6. Try to avoid fish flown overnight to get to your plate: ask questions. This can involve a lot of fossil fuels.
  7. Maybe try fishing yourself: hook and line fishing is the most sustainable type.
  8. Wild or farmed, fish include a lot of transportation, packaging it on ice, processing, and other energy costs.
  9. “Organic” means nothing when it comes to fish. There are no regulations set by the USDA. This doesn’t help the eco-cost at all.
  10. The U.S. has the strictest regulations. For example, shrimp from Asia are destroying mangrove swamps.
  11. Take advantage of the Blue Ocean Institute’s FishPhone: Text the message FISH followed by a type of fish to 30644 when you’re in the supermarket and you can find out about whether a certain type of fish is sustainable.

Overfishing is a problem. No one is disagreeing with that… check out this BBC News Report or this Times article. So, now that I’ve let you know a few more sustainable fishing choices and options, here are some recipes utilizing those options:

Scallops with Wild Rice

  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 scallops
  • balsamic vinegar

So this is a super easy, super yummy recipe. It serves one for lunch. Boil the water, add rice and reduce to simmer for 40 minutes (or until the rice is soft). Drain any excess water. Meanwhile, cook the scallops in a little bit of olive oil to brown. In a separate pot, reduce the balsamic vinegar until it thickens. Top the rice with the scallops, and the scallops with the reduced balsamic vinegar.

Anchovy Pasta

  • Note: be really really scarce on the anchovy. They have a very strong taste. I made this mistake because I haven’t cooked anchovies in a long time and it was a fishy experience (but the flavor was still good).
  • A couple of anchovies (canned in olive oil).
  • A clove of garlic, minced
  • Paprika
  • Dill
  • Parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Linguini (any type of pasta works)

While the pasta is boiling, brown the garlic in a pan and then add the anchovy. Cook until the anchovies melt. Add the paprika, dill, and coarsely chopped parsley. Mix into the pasta when cooked (I mixed mine in after taking the picture).

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2 responses to “Fish: What Practices Are Actually Sustainable?

  1. Pingback: Fish Tacos « The Green Bean

  2. Pingback: Thanksgivegetarian | The Green Bean

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