Many of us know the benefits of eating fish. So, we go to the grocery store and pick some fish to have for dinner and feel good about our choice. But, the truth is...not all fish is created equal. You have to be careful about the seafood you eat. It could be toxic with industrial contaminants, pumped up on antibiotics from an aquafarm, or it could be one of the last members of an endangered species.
Here are some smart choices you can make:
1) Eat low on the Food Chain. The smaller fish do not build up as many contaminants as do the large carnivores. They also reproduce quicker and can better withstand overfishing. Some examples of smaller fish are- sardines, anchovies, trout, arctic char, and bivalves such as scallops, clams, and oysters.
2) Buy Alaskan. Alaska has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world. Their wild seafood populations are healthy as far as population and added contaminants. Wild salmon that are harvested from Alaskan waters contain no antibiotics or added chemicals.
Go out and look for Alaskan salmon, halibut, and sablefish and replace some of your canned tuna fish with canned Alaskan salmon.
3) Avoid Farmed Atlantic Salmon. According to The Audubon’s Living Oceans Campaign, “farmed salmon are fed more antibiotics per pound of ‘livestock’ than are any other farmed animal.”
In fact, 23 million pounds of antibiotics are used annually in US animal production. Regulating the overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem in the fish farming industry, where salmon are raised in remote locations like Chile and British Columbia.
4) Look for the Marine Stewardship Council stamp of approval. The independent certification organization examines wild-capture fisheries and gives their approval to the best in the world.
A list of retailers carrying MSC-certified seafood can be found at eng.msc.org
5) Learn more about making healthy choices. The following organizations publish a list of three dozen types of seafood in order from the best choices to worst in terms of sustainability and health:
- The Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org),
- Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.mbayaq.org),
- Blue Ocean Institute (www.blueocean.org)
If you are a sushi lover, go to the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org) for a guide to healthy sushi.
One of my favorite sources for great quality Alaskan salmon is www.vitalchoice.com.