Ocean Conservation Groups Offer Advice On Choosing Sustainable
Blue Ocean Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, Monterey
Bay Aquarium collaborate to promote ocean-friendly selections...
Sushi lovers nationwide will soon have a way to make
seafood choices that please the palate and safeguard
the world's ocean wildlife.
Three leading ocean conservation organizations – Blue
Ocean Institute, Environmental Defense Fund and the
Monterey Bay Aquarium – will make available to the public
color-coded consumer guides ranking popular sushi selections
based on whether they are prepared using seafood that's
caught or farmed in ways that harm the ocean or pose
a health risk to people.
While the consumer guides – in print, online and mobile
device versions – differ in appearance, they are based
on similar data, and offer one consistent message: Sushi
choices by individual consumers have an impact on the
future of the ocean.
"For the first time, sushi lovers have tools that enable
them to join the growing movement of those making ocean-friendly
choices that protect life in the seas now and for generations
to come," said Julie Pareles, executive director of
Blue Ocean Institute (www.blueocean.org).
"These new guides not only enable sushi lovers to choose
fish that are caught or farmed responsibly, they also
highlight selections that are healthy for them and their
families," said Tim Fitzgerald, marine scientist for
Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org).
"The reality is quite simple," said Sheila Bowman, Seafood
Watch outreach manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
(www.montereybayaquarium.org). "If you care about the
future of the oceans, you'll avoid red-listed sushi."
For sushi aficionados, that means both pleasant surprises
– and some disappointments. Popular items like bluefin
tuna (hon maguro/kuro maguro) and freshwater eel (unagi)
are firmly on the "red" list, as is farmed salmon (sake).
These species are either overfished, farmed with aquaculture
methods that pollute the ocean, or caught using methods
that destroy ocean habitats or kill large amounts of
other sea life.
Items like wild-caught Alaska salmon (sake), farmed
scallops (hotate) and Pacific halibut (hirame) are more
sustainable choices, in part because they come from
abundant, well-managed fisheries or – in the case of
scallops – are raised using sustainable aquaculture
All three guides offer a substantially consistent message
about the best selections, as well as the fish to avoid
when choosing sushi.
"While we consider similar factors in assessing each
fishery, we each tabulate the environmental information
in slightly different ways," said Kate McLaughlin, Blue
Ocean Institute's Seafood Program Director. "That results
in subtle variations for a handful of rankings."
"The differences are minor," Bowman said. "Regardless
of which sushi guide people rely on, everyone from chefs
to consumers now has a very clear picture of what their
sushi choices mean for ocean wildlife."
All three guides incorporate human health recommendations
from Environmental Defense Fund, and fish that contain
levels of mercury or PCBs that may pose a health risk
to adults or children are flagged. Fisheries researchers
from the Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium
evaluated the seafood species included on the guides.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood rankings are the basis
for items selected by Environmental Defense Fund for
inclusion in its sushi guide.
Beginning October 22, Blue Ocean Institute sushi guides
will be available at www.blueocean.org/sushi; Environmental
Defense Fund guides at www.edf.org/seafood; and Monterey
Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch sushi guides at www.seafoodwatch.org.
Blue Ocean Institute, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Environmental
Defense Fund are also part of a larger consortium of
marine conservation organizations known as the Conservation
Alliance for Seafood Solutions (www.solutionsforseafood.org).
In May, the consortium released its "Common Vision for
Environmentally Sustainable Seafood," promoting steps
companies can take to develop and implement comprehensive
corporate policies on sustainable wild-caught and farmed
About Blue Ocean Institute
Blue Ocean Institute works to inspire a closer relationship
with the sea through science, art and literature. Blue
Ocean translates science into information people can
understand and use to take action on behalf of the ocean.
Blue Ocean's From Sea to Table program shares reliable
information that enlightens personal choices and helps
restore living abundance in the sea. In addition to
wallet-sized seafood guides, Blue Ocean provides FishPhone,
the nation's first sustainable seafood text messaging
service (text FISH and the species name to 30644 for
instant information). Additional programs focus on art
and poetry, training chefs in sustainable seafood practices,
and research and writing about ocean-related climate
and chemistry change. www.blueocean.org
About the Environmental Defense Fund
A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental
Defense Fund represents more than 500,000 members. Since
1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science,
economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships
to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious
environmental problems. For more information, visit
About the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is
to inspire conservation of the oceans. Through its award-winning
exhibits, education programs and cutting-edge marine
research, it has established itself as a leader among
aquariums worldwide. It is consistently ranked as the
No. 1 aquarium in the United States and the top aquarium
for families. It has reached more than 43 million visitors,
and tens of millions more through its website and through
outreach programs like Seafood Watch. The Aquarium's
Sustainable Seafood Initiative works to transform the
seafood market in ways that support sustainable fisheries
practices and fish-farming operations. www.montereybayaquarium.org,