EcoFish – A Label To Help You Make Better Seafood Choices

Goodlifer: EcoFish - A Label To Help You Make Better Seafood Choices

Fish and seafood can be great assets to the human diet. They provide a wealth of excellent-quality protein and other nutrients, they tend to be relatively low in calories and fat if prepared sensibly, and they even taste good! But lately, there’s been legitimate concern over including these power foods in meals. Many fishing stocks worldwide have been badly depleted by irresponsible harvesting practices and environmental factors. Farmed fish, once regarded as the savior of the fishing industry, are now under fire, too, for everything from excessive pollution to feeding practices and possible disease transmission to escapees from pens who can weaken the genetics of their wild cousins. As if all that weren’t bad enough, the FDA and EPA have issued guidelines for maximum intake of certain species due to the fact that they contain excessive levels of mercury and PCBs. What’s a fish/seafood lover to do? Looking for the EcoFish label is a good start.

Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood launched the EcoFish Program in 1999 with precisely these issues in mind. The program seeks to support fishing and aquaculture that provide responsible, long-term solutions to fish populations, the environment, and an ever-increasing population’s need for high-quality protein. All fish and seafood are sourced directly from partner fishermen and fish farms; both fishermen and fish farms are subject to rather stringent criteria. There is a list of approved species, including only those with sufficiently abundant and fast-growing populations, carefully managed stocks, and equally careful methods of capture. I like the fact that dyes, growth hormones, antibiotics, and the like are not permitted in any seafood bearing the EcoFish seal (these substances are common in most aquaculture). Part of the program includes testing for mercury and PCBs. Seafood Safe, as it’s called, helps consumers determine how many servings of a particular type of seafood they can eat per month without incurring a health risk from the above contaminants.

TBD

Wild South American Mahi Mahi, Wild Alaskan Salmon & Bay Scallops.

TBD

Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers, canned Wild Alaskan Fine Salmon & Solid White Albacore Tuna.

The program is supported by an independent advisory board, made up of some of the world’s leading marine conservation experts. It is not a perfect solution, but it’s a big step in the right direction. You can find much more information, including a list of products available to consumers, on the EcoFish website. If you do find yourself in the grocery store, contemplating if the fish you are about to buy is a sustainable choice, there is also a great mobile site and text service called FishPhone that can help you make the right choice.

Top photo by ezioman, Creative Commons.

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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