Sustainable Seafood 101

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There are thousands of cooking blogs -- each week, we bring you highlights from the best. This week, we've got sustainable seafood on the brain.



As we scuttled off to test entries for last week's contest, Your Best Seafood Pasta, we found ourselves in a classic sea cucumber of a pickle: where and how to source all the clams, scallops, shrimp (insert starring seafood ingredient here)? This important decision is not to be underestimated -- quality will make or break a dish that's all about exhibiting the fresh taste of the sea, no matter what coast you're on. But these aren't the only challenges facing the conscientious cook. In a time when overfishing and ocean pollution are major international issues, seasonality and sustainability are just as important to factor in at the fishmonger.

Four Fish by Paul Greenberg

And so, just as we encourage shopping local and in season in all other grocery departments, we've scoped out a few different informative resources to help with our sea-to-table eating. Inspired by Paul Greenberg's Four Fish, in which the journalist examines the forces that bring fish to our tables, we found a number of websites worth plumbing in order to better understand what Greenberg calls the last truly wild food.


Seafood Watch, powered by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, should be a cook's go-to. With sustainable seafood recipes and a recommendations section where you can share suggestions for other cooks, this site is extremely informative and well-thought-out. And the newest iteration of their iPhone app includes Project FishMap, which lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood.

While cooking seasonally and sustainably has its challenges at home, it's really in restaurant culture where we find things get, well, a lot fishier. It was this realization that led us to fish2fork, an invaluable guide complete with a restaurant index, news, and fish facts (perhaps most helpful: the top 10 to eat, and top 10 to avoid).

Full disclosure: we were feeling a bit swimmy when we set off in the sea of online sustainability literature, so if you know of any other great resources, feel free to share them in the comments section!

Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium