It should come as no surprise that the top two seafood’s consumed in the US are shrimp and salmon, in that order.
Even if you aren’t a sustainable seafood enthusiast or advocate, these two items are more than likely on your plate at least one day of the week. Hopefully you’re eating seafood twice a week as recommended by most health experts, but hey, once a week is better than none.
There are thousands of different species of seafood to choose from, but strangely, we gravitate toward those most familiar. And regardless of the choices we make, seafood is high in protein, minerals and vitamins and low in fat. Seafood makes an attractive, healthy, center of the plate option.
However, while people like me encourage you to each a variety of seafood on the food chain, I realize that isn’t always an option for a host of reasons: availability, income, or a number of other day-to-day challenges.
For that reason, to help you make the right, read, sustainable seafood choices when you’re out shopping for the top two this weekend, here are a few quick shopping tips. Because you know you want to eat sustainable seafood over the Labor Day weekend!
- Buy wild US shrimp. You support the shrimpers, their families, communities and way of life.
- Buy freshwater aquaculture shrimp.
- Avoid shrimp from Thailand. There shrimp is often treated with antibiotics (against US regulations) and they support slave labor. Avoid shrimp from Mexico.
- Look for labels like Marine Stewardship Council, Wild American Shrimp, Naturland, Aquaculture Stewardship Council. My all-time favorite resource is Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
Why do I trust MBA?
For over thirty years they have had science, resources, and educational programs to back and support their work. Seafood Watch was instituted in 1997. That’s good enough for me.
If you’re the type that likes to learn visually, here’s a quick shrimp Farm-to-Fork video from Consumer Reports.
- When available and when your budget allows, buy wild salmon. The fresh wild salmon harvest season in the US is May through September give or take a few weeks in either direction. Beyond that, shop in the freezer section of the grocery store for wild salmon. Salmon is flash frozen on the boat or immediately after in a processing facility anyway. Unless you live in Alaska, of course, you already know what to do.
- Salmon from a sustainable farmed facility is an excellent choice also. Look for the labels Verlasso or True North.
- Avoid farmed Atlantic salmon that isn’t recommended above or doesn’t have an eco-friendly label.
Ready to try another seafood species?
Spoiler! I’m not going to suggest tuna or tilapia.
Five words: Australis Barramundi, The Better Fish.
Its flaky, meaty texture and clean buttery flavor make this an excellent sustainable seafood choice. Australis Barramundi is sustainably-farmed and can be found in the freezer aisle at the grocery.
Maureen C. Berry is the author of forthcoming Eating Salmon (Storey Publishing) 2016. She is a sustainable seafood advocate, cook, aspiring crime fiction wanna-be, nap-taker, and lover of all things acoustic guitar and wire fox terriers. While you’re here, sign up for her monthly newsletter and receive your copy of Amazing Sustainable Seafood, her first ecookbook project.