I am back from the Boston Seafood show. After spending 7 hours in the ocean of seafood industry, I am tired. But before I go to bed, I wanted to share with you my greatest find.
Want to know which species are over-fished and which ones aren't? Are there measures in place to help the species recover? What about bycatch? Fish Watch can answer all those questions. It won't tell you what to eat or not to eat. It will just provide you with up to date information on the health of the species. The site is created by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). I'd like to say a huge thanks to Dr. John Ward, Chief Economist at NOAA, for patiently answering my neverending questions at the show and leading me to such a valuable resource.
Since the site is created by the US government, it focuses on the fish caught in the US, so it's in no way a complete reference. However, I find that most of the fish I buy is indeed from the US (bluefish, striped bass, monkfish, swordfish, sable, halibut, grouper, haddock, mackerel, snapper, tuna, mahi, salmon), so I found the site to be a great resource.
I was curious how much we can do as a consumer to help a species recover, so I asked John if it's reasonable to avoid buying overfished fish. His answer was no. Chef's and consummer's boycot of a fish does not help it recover. It simply drives the price of that species down and moves it to a lower-end market. For example, during the "Give swordfish a break" campain, the price of swordfish fell so much it became a cafeteria and Red Lobster fish. What eventually helped swordfish recover were the quotas put in place by the government to restrict fishing and allow the stocks to come back. Swordfish is now at a happy 99% of the biomass that supports maximum sustainable yield.