As a chef, making sustainable choices for fish can be confusing. Is farm-raised better than wild? Is cod on or off the Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood watch list? And can you even trust the Seafood Watch list as Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish, questions. Your customers demand Chilean Sea Bass, but you know it's not a sustainable fish option.
I have heard arguments for and against farm-raised fish. Farm raised fish can be considered more sustainable and environmentally friendly because this practice does not deplete stocks or threaten extinction by overfishing. However, they pose a threat to the environment by spreading disease when the fish escape. Additionally, farm raised fish also rely on wild-fish for fish-meal... a prime source of nutrients.
Further complicating the issue, consumers seem to latch onto each new fish. First it was salmon and tuna, then Chilean Sea Bass. Now even the lowly cod has such high demand that wild stocks of the fish are being depleted.
Here are a few tips to help support sustainable seafood sourcing:
1. Incorporate low cost fish and seafood on the menu. The higher demand fish command a higher price, and typically these are the same varieties that are being over-fish.
2. Maintain diversity on your menus. As more consumers adapt this practice, the impact of over-fishing a single type of fish is reduced.
3. Consider supporting a Community Supported Fishery as a way to incorporate diversity into your menu.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
Cape Ann CSF
Port Clyde Shrimp CSF
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