Food13 Jun 2009 12:10 pm


As an avid diver and certified biologist that happens to be a seafood lover, I find myself in more of a predicament these days. How do I eat and enjoy seafood while still respecting the environmental limitations on an easily over-harvested food item?

Let me tell you, it’s not easy. The lists of fish to avoid/consume are long and complicated, made worse by vague menus and unknowledgeable staff.

I’ve eaten more than my share of taboo creatures from the sea. Whale and seabass, some species of skate, monkfish… surf clam happens to be one of my favourite sushi items.

I’m reminded of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer rescues a lobster from the grocery store and ends up keeping him as a pet. Disaster ensues, “Pinchy” is cooked in a hot bathtub and Homer cries as he eats him, asking for more butter and saying “Pinchy would’ve wanted it this way.”

So, how does one begin to change? A place to start is reading Sustainable Seafood guidelines. However, that should be followed up by reading this article from a recent New York Times: Loving fish, this time with the fish in mind. Finally, actually applying these methods by being choosy and not caving to pressure in restaurants. Some are very open about their approach to seafood (of note: several restaurants in the Mandalay Bay complex in Las Vegas subscribe to sustainable seafood. Now if only the other MGM/Mirage properties would take on the challenge…) and make it easier to make informed decisions.

If you ask for it, change will come. I know I will try to remember that the next time I’m tempted by some exotic fish.

2 Responses to “Sustaining Seafood”

  1. on 14 Jun 2009 at 7:39 am H.Peter

    As controversial as it may be, I would like to be the little devil on your conscience today (NYT being the angel).

    In my previous career which spanned a decade, I floated around the seven seas and one thing that sticks to my mind to this day is how vast the oceans are and how insignificant we humans are in comparison.
    Though this may sound a bit blue eyed compared to scientific research, I firmly believe that mother earth will always right herself, one way or the other. For sure we will end up with the shorter end of the stick one day.

    One season I spent on a very, very small island in the Indian ocean and the menu was basically 6 days fish, one day chicken. That’s it. Hotel guests as well as staff. That’s all there was. No pork (religion), no beef.

    Yes, some species are nearing extinction, but so do many others without us killing them off.

    I recycle, bring my old bags to buy groceries, drive less, teach my daughter basics about nature, but when it comes to dining out, I don’t want to feel catholic.
    No guilt, just food.

  2. on 14 Jun 2009 at 11:53 am Kelly

    Must be the Catholic in me. 🙂

    I have to say I can never totally swear off fish, because that is crazy and unhealthy. I just don’t know if I can really enjoy things like bluefin tuna or monkfish without deep consideration for how it was gathered.