Good, Higher, Finest: Seafood

A vegan food regimen could be the single only manner for people to reduce their environmental impression, however giving up meat is a large problem for many individuals. A pescatarian food regimen — which means consuming fish and different seafood however no different meats — is usually a sensible step on the street to veganism or perhaps a everlasting center floor between a dangerous food regimen and one which’s exhausting to keep up.

Fish is a simple, wholesome protein supply that may fulfill the meat craving with out triggering (for some folks) the identical moral considerations as consuming mammals. Environmentally talking, although, the impression of consuming seafood can differ by rather a lot. Right here’s how one can make your seafood food regimen as eco-friendly as potential.


In line with Seafood Watch’s carbon emissions device, crustaceans have the very best carbon footprint of all proteins, as a result of so few are caught from every journey, and since they require a lot bait. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has a certification for these crustaceans, however not one of the licensed lobsters and just a few of the crabs get the inexperienced gentle from Seafood Watch. It’s normally good to keep away from consuming crustaceans.

Farmed prawns are virtually as damaging to the surroundings as consuming crimson meat. Poorly regulated shrimp farms in Asia destroy mangrove forests and pollute waterways, can produce antibiotic-contaminated shrimp, and have even been linked to human trafficking. To seek out responsibly harvested shrimp, search for shrimp licensed by one of many three Seafood Watch-approved labels: Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Naturland, or World Aquaculture Alliance.

Surprisingly, tuna is an efficient selection. Tuna has a carbon footprint that’s decrease than most marine whitefish and even farmed freshwater fish. Nonetheless, overfishing and bycatch (the seize or destruction of non-target species) are vital issues with tuna fishing. When shopping for tuna, the small print make an enormous distinction in sustainability. Skipjack/gentle tuna and albacore/white tuna typically have decrease carbon impacts than different varieties of tuna. Tuna that’s caught within the U.S. by trolling or handline fishing strategies is healthier than tuna caught with drifting longlines or floating object purse seines (FAD). No matter type of tuna you purchase, search for MSC certification.

Regardless of the potential of some newer land-based aquaculture tasks, farmed fish typically ends in carbon emissions which might be akin to pork or turkey. Salmon aquaculture on each the East Coast and West Coast has a historical past of environmental violations. Fish farms contribute to water air pollution and jeopardize the well being and genetic integrity of untamed fish populations. It’s all the time good to search for eco-certification when shopping for farmed fish to reduce these impacts.


Wild-caught fish is a better option than farmed fish. Each wild-caught salmonids and marine whitefish have a decrease carbon footprint than their farmed counterparts, regardless of the gas necessities of ocean-going vessels.

Salmonids like arctic char and steelhead trout could also be higher selections than salmon, which is at better threat of overfishing. The impacts of various species of whitefish and strategies of catching them differ extensively. Typically, species that stay nearer to the ocean’s floor are higher selections than deep-water fish.


Farmed shellfish has a a lot decrease carbon footprint than wild-harvested, regardless of restricted information and questions on water high quality impacts. Filter-feeding clams, oysters, and different mollusks require low inputs. In truth, they require no added feed (which contributes to eutrophication at fish farms). Farmed mollusks are among the many finest selections for a low-carbon protein supply.

Small pelagics are small-sized ocean fish from education species akin to anchovies, mackerel, menhaden, and herring. These species are all the time wild-caught, by no means farmed. For wild-caught seafood, the gas used to energy fishing boats is normally the biggest contributor to the carbon footprint. Ships that catch small pelagics are usually extra gas environment friendly and catch their hundreds unexpectedly.

Overfishing remains to be a priority, however as a rule of thumb, small pelagics are probably the most sustainable seafood selection.


From a local weather standpoint, seafood (besides lobster) is all the time a better option than crimson meat. However the full impression of a specific seafood selection relies upon loads on fishing strategies and whether or not the fishery is well-managed to keep away from overfishing. Letting sellers know there’s a demand for extra sustainable seafood will make a distinction. Whenever you’re on the fish counter, make sure you ask if their seafood is sustainable.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium helps shoppers make the very best seafood selections. You’ll be able to test the Seafood Watch App without cost, up to date seafood suggestions if you end up meals purchasing or ordering in a restaurant. Print a sustainable seafood information to maintain in your pockets. Or dig deeper into the small print of their suggestions on the Seafood Watch internet web page.

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