Farm-Raised or Wild-Caught: Deciphering the Seafood Counter

If you’ve been to the seafood counter lately at your local market, you may have noticed some changes.  New requirements are mandating that labels state where & how the fish was caught.  Most often you’ll see farm-raised or wild-caught. Seems logical, right, wild-caught should be the sustainable choice.

Not so fast. Both have their pros and cons.

imageFarm-raised may introduce hormones, disease, and artificial colors to our seafood. Not always though.

Sustainable farming can actually limit disease, pollution, and pesticides.

Wild-caught is a natural form of fishing and we don’t need to change the environment in which they’re raised.  Not always though.

Wild-caught seafood may destroy delicate eco-systems and harm other ocean life during the process.  Not to mention, many species are over-fished and simply can’t reproduce faster than they’re being caught, sometimes illegally.

To make things more complicated, the country of origin and type of fish has an effect on which method is healthier and safer.

85% of the world’s fisheries are being harvested at capacity or are in decline.
-Seafood Watch

Really, though. We’re just trying to put dinner on the table and we’re lucky if we can remember our grocery list let alone which fish isn’t full of mercury or led to dolphin killing.

Since 1999, Monterey Bay Aquarium has been working with fisherman, restaurants, and consumers through their Seafood Watch program to educate and teach sustainable and responsible fishing.

To help consumers navigate seafood counters and restaurants, they’ve created a printable pocket guide & a fantastic app Seafood Watch (no, they aren’t paying me for this promotion).

You can look up specific seafood, or browse best choice/avoid categories.

imageMaybe Salmon is on sale, but of the varieties offered you’re not sure which is the best choice. Their handy app will help you.

Need help navigating a sushi or entree menu? There are suggestions for those too.

Depending on your location there are even specific restaurants with safe seafood options.

farm-raised fish photo credit


One response to “Farm-Raised or Wild-Caught: Deciphering the Seafood Counter

  1. Pingback: A week of healthy dinner recipes for when you're too busy to cook – ChicagoNow (blog)

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