Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sustainable Sushi

These days I find myself thinking about fish.  A lot.  Am I eating enough?  Am I eating too much? Which kinds can I eat?  Is it wild or farmed?  Fresh or frozen?  Healthy or harmful? And then there are the environmental questions; from overfishing, to antibiotics, to habitat damage, the choices we make have as much impact on the health of the ocean as the health of our bodies. With so many voices offering differing opinions on all of these issues, seafood can be an extremely tricky puzzle for an ecofoodie to unravel.  Sometimes, it seems easier to just throw in the towel and not eat seafood at all.  But then I find myself at my favorite sushi bar, and there's just no way I can opt for vegetable stir fry when faced with so many more exciting possibilities.  If you love your spicy tuna roll but you also love our oceans, take heart; you don't have to choose between them.  You just have to learn how to read between the lines.

As part of their Seafood Watch program, the Monterey Bay Aquarium  has recently created a Seafood Watch Sushi Guide for those of us who like our seafood extra fresh.  From Ebi (shrimp) to Aku (tuna) to Unagi (eel), the guide lists a multitude of sushi options, each one placed into one of three categories:  "Best Choice," "Good Alternative," and "Avoid."  If you eat sushi often, you might just memorize where your favorite options fall and try to steer clear of those you should avoid.  Or, if you're better with paper lists than mental ones (as am I), you can download their handy pocket guide and tuck it into your wallet to be called upon when needed.  You might even use it as an inspiration to try something new-choose three green options you've never tried before and let the culinary adventure begin!  And if the menu doesn't tell the full story, don't be afraid to ask your server.  If the answer doesn't jive with what's sustainable, you've got a perfect opportunity to express your concerns to the restaurant--if they hear it from enough of their customers, they might just make a change!

To learn more about how you can promote the use of sustainable within your community, click here.

Photo courtesy of LexnGer, Flickr Creative Commons

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