Eco-conscious travelers take care to choose eco-friendly hotels and go the extra mile to learn about the local culture and environment of their destination. We are all aware of best practices for leaving a light carbon footprint, taking public transit, and generally leaving any location better than we found it. But what about eco-conscious dining? We can choose a green restaurant, buy local and eat local. Whether shopping in a local grocery store, eating at a nearby restaurant, or while dining on vacation, it is important to learn about how you can choose sustainable seafood too.
No matter where you go or what your personal travels entail, you have to eat. With Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide, travelers can be sure they’re choosing sustainable seafood choices.
I first learned about Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guide to sustainable fish and seafood on a visit with my family to the Monterey coastal area, where most seaside restaurants were displaying the guide prominently. I saw it again all over San Francisco, and loved how easy it is to use. Best of all, it’s not region-specific; this sustainable seafood guide can be used all over the country. Look up a few of your favorites and remember if they are on the safe list to order and consume.
Sustainable Seafood Guide
It is surprising to many that the fish in the sea isn’t unlimited. Our oceans are being overfished. While wild fish were once abundant, the catch of wild fish leveled off approximately 15 years ago. Aquaculture, or fish farming, is a great alternative that can be done in a sustainable way. In fact, half our seafood today comes from fish farms. But the ecological impact of fish farms is directly tied to the species in demand. Due to fish farming environmental impact, as consumers, we need to demand the right fish be bred and that sustainable fishing practices be pursued for wild fish. You can make a big difference by making the right choices.
How It Works
The Seafood Watch regional guides contain the latest information on sustainable seafood choices available in different regions of the United States. Travelers can search by “all regions” or one of eight specific regions. I love that in their “best choices” list of responsibly caught and farmed fish, there are many, many choices. They also offer “good alternative” choices, which makes eating sustainably more realistic. More than anything, while we ate out along the coast of California, we scanned the “avoid” list, to make sure we weren’t ordering any fish that are over-fished and/or fished or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. Usually, there are plenty of other choices for everyone’s tastes.
Using the Mobile Version
By far the most convenient way to actively use the guide while on the go, travelers can download the latest online pocket guide or get the mobile app for Android or iPhone. If you want a paper version, print the pocket-sized PDF list, which will fit in a pocket or backpack. Most times, I look up a few of my favorites in advance of wherever I am going to know which ones are safe and which to avoid.
Use It at Home
Of course, you don’t want to eat sustainable fish only while on the road. Use the Seafood Watch’s sustainable seafood recipes at home, too, and take the PDF or download with you while you do your grocery shopping. When you take the time to learn about sustainable seafood, it will become a habit.
What’s your favorite sustainable seafood? How do you decide which fish to buy? By seeking out sustainable restaurants whether at home or when traveling, you will be making a difference. Research farm-to-table restaurants and local food trucks in advance of your trip.