How to Order Seafood with a Clear Conscience

Nutritionists say eat more of it, while environmentalists say scale back. What’s a seafood lover with a conscience to do?

©Brand X Pictures/ThinkstockNutritionists tell us we should eat more fish due to its healthy protein and high omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart and brain. Environmentalists tell us we should eat less because many of our favorites are on the fast track to extinction thanks to global overfishing. What’s a conscientious seafood lover to do? A recent report from the former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service offers reason to rejoice: For the first time in over a century, fish stocks in our nation’s waters are at a sustainable level, and overfishing has ended here in the U.S.

Before rushing out to order one of everything at your favorite sushi joint, be sure to check out these tips on selecting fish that’s healthy for you and the planet:

Buy American
Right now, few countries besides the U.S. have made significant progress in curbing overfishing. But just buying your fish in the States isn’t enough—literally tons of seafood are shipped in from abroad each year, so be sure to ask your server or fish monger whether it’s domestic or imported.

Bone Up on the Best and Worst
Overfishing has hit certain species worse than others. Blue fin tuna, swordfish, grouper and orange roughy are all on the Don’t list when it comes to buying seafood. On the flipside, farmed rainbow trout, Alaskan wild salmon and certain varieties of domestic yellow fin tuna are definitely Do’s.

Keep the Experts in Your Pocket
When in doubt, consult one of these handy wallet-sized guides to sustainable seafood compiled by the folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Choose from the national guide to one specific to your region to a guide dedicated to sushi. Better yet, download all three.


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest