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A FRESH Point of View: Safe, Sustainable Seafood

“Sustainable” seafood is another one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around a lot these days. But how do you know whether that fillet you’re eating is truly sustainable – or even exactly what it means if it is?

At its most basic, sustainable seafood is any type that can be farmed or caught without threatening the long-term survival of either the fish itself or its eco-system. The problem is that certain fish species have been over-fished, often due to their popularity with consumers. That means their population is decreasing in the wild, which can harm the future health of the oceans.

In general, fish that either grow slowly or reproduce late in life are susceptible to being over-fished, and thus not considered sustainable. In contrast, fish that grow quickly, or that reproduce while relatively young, are considered more sustainable. Farm-raised fish are often considered more sustainable than wild-caught, because of the control farmers have over their environment.

However, it’s a lot more complicated than that. A species may be over-fished in one ocean, but not in another. Large-scale farms in some areas may operate by sustainable practices, but farms raising the same fish in another sea might not. Environmentalists, commercial fishermen, and other observers don’t even always agree on which species should rightfully be called “sustainable.”

So what’s a shopper to do? Several groups have created lists of environmentally friendly fish that you can consult. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Marine Stewardship Council all offer suggestions on their websites. You can even download the Monterey Bay list on your smartphone.

At FRESH, it is our goal to help our customers connect their individual buying decisions to the health of the oceans. So, working with our suppliers, we are committed to providing an extensive offering of sustainably-caught and farm-raised fish and seafood.

Our selection will rotate frequently, depending on what’s freshest and what our suppliers can bring you. Please talk to our team members about the best choices for you and your family.