Sunday, January 1, 2012

Seafood Watch

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a website that lets you know what seafood you should eat. The two issues seem to be the sustainability of the fisheries, and the mercury in the fish.

Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for longline-caught albacore tuna due to elevated levels of mercury. No consumption advisories are listed for troll- or pole-caught albacore as these methods catch younger tuna with lower mercury levels.

This sounded much easier than I thought until I started looking for Pacific Sardines. Word from Monterey is that you should only get Pacific sardines, because the Atlantic fisheries are eliminating the sardines by catching too many of them. And guess which ones cost more. At Costco, good sardines are a little more than a $1 a can, but they are from Morocco which is a no no. So I passed them by, and went to three groceries before I found some from the Pacific. $3.78 a can!

So what did I do? Quit eating sardines. The same with tuna... after I finish the three cans that I already have.

There was an artist, Mr. Otis, who would only sell his paintings for cans of sardines. Since he was from the Pacific Northwest, I'm hoping that his sardines were the good kind.

So what would you do if you liked sardines? Eat your wallet, or the Atlantic sardines?

6 comments:

Melissa Prado Little said...

Why are the Moroccan sardines a no-no?

It is a tough one because they are a great source of protein and crazy amounts of nutrients. B12, vitamin D, Omega 3 fatty acids to name a few. And if you like them that's great. I think I would limit them for special occasions, perhaps split the difference and purchase half Pacific and half other. I might also write a letter to Costco about trying to source more sustainable sardines.

Kim Mosley said...

From the Monterey Bay website: In the Mediterranean, sardines are fished by a number of countries including Albania, France, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain and Turkey. For many of these fisheries, population size is unknown. The populations that are being monitored reveal that many are depleted and continue to decline.

Kim Mosley said...

Just to further confuse the issue, here is another opinion: http://illegal-fishing.info/item_single.php?item=news&item_id=2557&approach_id=13 which says: Certification has come after a review of Morocco's fisheries compliance with Friend of the Sea standards. The stocks targeted by the Morocco fleet are considered by the Regional Fishery Bodies to be not overexploited. The fishing method - purse seining for small pelagics - reportedly generates on average only 1,2 to 2% of discards (FAO 2005) and does not impact the seabed.

I'm going to write Monterey Bay and ask for some resolution.

Anonymous said...

Mercury cancels out benefits of fish: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/confirmed-mercury-cancels-out-the-health-benefits-of-fish-oil.html

Kim Mosley said...

American Pregnancy Assoc. says sardines is one of the lowest in mercury. I believe small fish has less than big fish. See: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/fishmercury.htm

Anonymous said...

Lucky for me, I don't like sardines. H.