4 Simple Ways to Tell If You’re Buying Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable and ethical consumer choices are rising in popularity in the United States, with 77% of Americans claiming that sustainability is a factor when purchasing goods. Seafood is something you definitely want to purchase from a sustainable and, if possible, ethical company because how it’s farmed or caught can have a major impact on our water—both salt and fresh. When you make thoughtful consumer choices, not only are you buying a healthier fish, but you’re helping positively impact the environment by supporting a company that’s making an effort to protect our most precious resources. The next time you make a grocery store run, here are four key things you can do to ensure you buy sustainable, healthy seafood.

Check For Certifications

Certifications around seafood, such as the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) are hard-earned and therefore trusted. Because of this, look for clear markings such as the MSC or ASC logo as it can point you in the right direction when you’re grabbing a fillet for dinner. However, there are only a handful of sustainable certifications in America, so while many companies follow the standards, they may not be completely certified yet. Don’t be deterred from brands that may not have these labels, but be mindful of these certifications when you’re roaming the aisles.

Look the Company Up

Photo credit: Regal Springs

We live in a world where access to information is right in your pocket, so why not use it? When it comes to seafood, companies that have sustainable practices put it at the forefront of their branding materials. This includes on their websites, in infographics and even in their recipes. For example, Regal Springs prides itself on farming healthy Tilapia in not only a sustainable manner, but also in a socially responsible one too. They were also the first fish farm to receive ASC certification due to their high quality and stringent quality assurance. A quick Google search of any brand name should bring up facts on their fishing and/or fish farming practices. If they don’t discuss their practices at all, that might be a red flag.

Know Where The Fish Is From

In the United States, seafood is normally labelled with the name of the country it comes from. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guide on where sustainable fish comes from, this can be useful when deciding what to buy. For example, Tilapia from Honduras is likely to be more sustainable than Tilapia from China. That’s simply because ethically-inclined companies are more commonly found in South America than in China or Taiwan. However, the guide does say that for some states, certain seafoods from Asia make for a good alternative or can even be a more favorable choice. That’s why it’s so important to read up and pick wisely!

Look At The Nutrition Facts

Photo credit: teamperks

Sustainable and ethically-harvested fish are normally exposed to fewer chemicals and are better taken care of than unsustainable fish. These practices normally result in a healthier final product. By comparing nutritional values, you can often tell whether the seafood contains additives, chemicals or preservatives. Healthy choices are probably a priority for you already, so checking the label should be second nature when picking the best seafood!

Experts may be able to look at a fish and tell you whether it’s been sustainably-farmed or not, but the everyday consumer isn’t trained in the art of detection. That’s why it’s so important to look for signs that indicate that what you’re buying is ethically-harvested. These four tips may not be foolproof, but if you put those sustainable sleuthing skills to the test next time you’re at the market, we bet you’ll walk away with a healthier and more responsible purchase.

Feature Image: Lucas Jans