February 19, 2010

Eco Fish + Sushi? There’s an App for that! ~ Elleni Cladis

“There is a free app called Seafood Watch that will tell you what fish are best to buy and other interesting information. Always handy to have at the fish counter or restaurant.”

Update: Pacific Bluefin Tuna: Population Drops 97% Due to Overfishing (time.com)

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

From Reddit, a helpful summary:

-nimblenavigator 309 points

Tuna is an apex predator, as well as a keystone species. They are like wolves in Yellowstone.

They are responsible for maintaining the overall balance of their ecosystem through proper trophic dynamics. If there aren’t enough Tuna, then the population of their prey will explode, which will decrease the population of the prey’s prey, etc etc. It is a huge, massive food web. Example:


So, without Tuna there are going to be some problems. Maybe a different species will expand their range, maybe not, but there are many different types of Tuna and this article is about Bluefin. There are still very, very healthy populations of Tuna out there, mostly around the United States because we actually try to take care of our fisheries.

For example, Albacore is fine to eat as the North Atlantic fishery is well maintained and has a healthy population. From the Pacific, some Yellowfin Tuna populations, mostly in the Western Central Pacific are actually still sustainable and the fishery is doing well and all fish are caught using hand lines. So if you get Tuna be sure to get Central Pacific Yellowfin!

Here is Monterey’s seafood recommendation for Tuna:


They have a list like that for nearly any fish species that humans eat so I do recommend checking it out and using it to buy sustainable food.

Want your grandkids to be able to eat it? Finally: it’s Easy being Green (while eating Sushi).

Okay people.  Now there’s no excuse. The choice of being sustainable when choosing fish has never been so easy.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, known for its Seafood Watch that “recommends which seafood to buy or avoid, helping consumers and businesses become advocates for ocean-friendly seafood,” just has come out with the Seafood Watch app for Apple’s iPhone or iPhone touch.

Whether sushi, or any other fish dish is the meal of choice, Seafood Watch has your back – whip out your iPhone or mobile phone with internet connection and double check to make sure you don’t support the continuing overfishing and depletion of our seafood resources and oceans with your fish selection (for those of us who are without either app, or who still are technologically challenged, there is the Seafood Watch print-out pocket guide via the web site).

Remember: if you love fish, you don’t want to overfish it, or availability will go away—often for years if not forever.

What’s this about overfishing and the un-sustainability of our seafood? Well, for starters, just consider the origin of the species. Not Darwin’s…but how, for those of us in land-locked Colorado, fish gets on our plates and palates. Not going into too many specifics (the Wall Street Journal a couple years back did an excellent piece on where sushi fish really comes from, click here to read the full investigative story), the sushi fish is caught off either coast of good ‘ole US of A, immediately frozen, shipped across the globe to international markets where it is sliced and diced, and then sent back to America…eventually to end up in front of you on a fun Friday night at your favorite sushi bar. It’s neither eco-responsible or sustainably-harvested, typically.

And, to put it in even simpler terms thanks to Elephant’s creator, Waylon Lewis: “Sushi is about as fresh as frozen peas.”

Which, when you think about it, is not fresh, not even a little bit.

Still, there is no reason why people shouldn’t enjoy sushi (click here to read a young woman’s tale about her love of sushi and why she’s okay with it, even after Waylon almost peer-mindful-pressured her away from it) – just as long as they know how to be responsible to our earth and environment when choosing which fish to select, information which is now at the tip of your fingers with the Seafood Watch app.

There’s a lot of work to be done on this front, but check out Waylon’s old-timey video below for some helpful hints in making your next sushi experience a lot more enjoyable and sustainable for the earth and for the future.

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