If you’re anything like me, you don’t know what’s good to eat anymore. Long after giving up red meat and chicken, I continued to eat fish, but now I don’t dare. Thanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, it isn’t necessary for everyone to take such drastic measures since they keep track of the most sustainable seafood options. Health is another important thing to consider when choosing seafood. Although often an excellent source of immunity-boosting omega-3 fatty acids that also reduce risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, some fish carry toxins that can become harmful when eaten frequently. Read on for the September 2010 update on the top six choices.
This list of recommendations takes its “authority” from human health experts, including from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). In addition to being environmentally sustainable – ie. there are sufficient quantities of them that consumption does not jeopardize their existence – they contain less than 216 parts per billion (ppb) mercury and 11 ppb industrial chemicals and dioxins.
Unfortunately for us in the Middle East, the most sustainable options are often from the United States and British Columbia. Shipping said seafood to us is decidedly not sustainable, so we may have fewer responsible options. Although there are fish farms in the Middle East, we don’t yet have sufficient data to determine their sustainability.
1) Albacore Tuna (troll or pole-caught is best, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
2) Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
3. Oysters (farmed)
4. Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
5. Rainbow Trout (farmed)
6. Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
** Other Healthy “Best Choices”
- Arctic Char (farmed)
- Barramundi (farmed, from the U.S.)
- Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from California, Oregon or Washington)
- Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from the U.S. Atlantic)
- Mussels (farmed)
More on Fish in the Middle East: