Nowadays we no longer just choose sushi by taste. Sustainability and health risks are important factors. As consumers we are responsible for knowing if the fish is healthy for us and if it is endangered or declining rapidly. I prefer eating wild fish and rarely buy farmed. When eating out, I usually have to ask the waiter about the origins. Choosing fish can be complicated.
The Blue Ocean Institute is helping consumers with the release of its Sushi Guide today. You can get a copy of it here. It includes which species are abundant, problems in farming methods, overfishing, and which fisheries have been certified as sustainable. It also indicates which fish contain high levels of mercury.
The Monterrey Aquarium has a similar, more detailed list. Part of that list you can find below, the best choices and what to avoid.
My favorite and most convenient service is FishPhone, a sustainable seafood text messaging service. Just text the message FISH and the name of the fish in question to 30644 and FishPhone will text back the Blue Ocean Institute's environmental assessment.
For this post I types in FISH MAGURO. Immediately I received the following message:
yellowfin and bigeye
tuna; pole and troll caught
(LIGHT GREEN) few
longline caught (ORANGE)
ADVISORY for longline
caught: High Mercury
The colors mentioned refer to the fish key on their Sushi Guide. LIGHT GREEN for species that have medium to high levels of abundance, ORANGE indicate species that have numerous problems such as serious environmental impact.
- Amaebi/Spot Prawn (U.S.)
- Ebi/Shrimp (U.S. wild-caught)
- Ebi/Shrimp (U.S. farmed)
- Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (California, Oregon, Washington)
- Hamachi/Yellowtail (U.S. farmed)
- Hirame/Flounder, Soles (Pacific)
- Hotate/Scallops, Sea (Atlantic, U.S. & Canada)
- Kani/Crab, Blue
- Kani/Crab, King (U.S.)
- Kani/Crab, Snow
- Kanikama/Surimi/Imitation Crab (Worldwide except Alaska)
- Katsuo/Bonito/Tuna, Skipjack (Hawaii longline)
- Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Bigeye (troll/pole)
- Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
- Masago/Smelt roe/Capelin (Canada)
- Sake/Salmon (Washington wild-caught)
- Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (Hawaii longline)
- Tai/Red Porgy (U.S.)
- Uni/Sea Urchin (California)
- Aji/Sawara/Mackerel, Spanish
- Amaebi/Spot Prawn (British Columbia)
- Awabi/Abalone (U.S. farmed)
- Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska & British Columbia)
- Hirame/Halibut, Pacific
- Hotate/Scallops, Bay (farmed)
- Ikura/Salmon Roe (Alaska wild-caught)
- Iwana/Arctic Char (farmed)
- Iwashi/Sardine (U.S. Pacific)
- Izumidai/Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
- Kaki/Oysters (farmed)
- Kanikama/Surimi/Imitation crab (Alaska)
- Katsuo/Bonito/Tuna, Skipjack (troll/pole)
- Masago/Smelt roe/Capelin (Iceland)
- Mirugai/Giant Clam/Geoduck (wild-caught)
- Murugai/Mussels (farmed)
- Sake/Salmon (Alaska wild-caught)
- Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (British Columbia, U.S. troll/pole)
- Suzuki/Striped Bass (farmed)
- Suzuki/Striped Bass (wild-caught)
- Uni/Sea Urchin (Canada)
bah! no aji?!? it's 1 of my favorite shiromi!
if any sushi chef served surimi (imit crab) to me at the sushi bar i'd walk out and not pay...
I have to give Fish Phone a try! I carry a Monterrey Bay list in my wallet but then I get to the store and what looks good isn't on it.
this is a really neat-o guide! next time i go out for sushi, i'll keep this in mind!
This is really really good to know. Even better if the sushi chefs started using this and advertising that they serve sustainable sushi.
Yeah wouldn't that be great!
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