Make Responsible AND Healthy Seafood Choices: A Visual Guide

Goodlifer: Make Responsible AND Healthy Seafood Choices: A Visual Guide

I’ve been very happy to see friends consult Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Guides when making choices at restaurants. The oceans are severely at risk and it’s very important that we all make the most environmentally conscious and sustainable choices possible. However, toxin levels are also something we should all be concerned about, which usually involves calling upon a different guide. All this can often leave me more confused than I was when I started.

Oceanographer Neil Banas saw this problem as well and did us all a favor by putting the information for both sustainability and toxicity together in one easy-to-read chart. Download a PDF from his site and save it as an image on your phone, that way you’ll always have it handy when you need it.

Neil Banas: Sustainable Seafood Guide.

Says Banas:

This is a synthesis and redesign of seafood recommendations from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, which focus on sustainability, warnings about toxins (mercury and PCBs) from the Environmental Defense Fund, and some ancillary info from

There’s a lot of uncertainty in this type of information, and lots of complexity that any pocket guide omits. I had to make some judgement calls and approximations too. So see the sites above (also FishWatch from the National Marine Fisheries Service) for more information. (I’m an oceanographer, but I only eat fish, I don’t actually study them).

Tuna often contains high levels of toxins, pair that with the BPA in most can liners and you have a recipe for disaster. Photo by Neil Banas.

It’s very important to always make a point of asking where the seafood at the restaurant or store comes from, in order to make the right choice (as you can see in the guide, salmon can be one of the best and worst choices depending on its origins) but also to increase the awareness of chefs and restaurant and shop owners. Consumer demand is the most powerful market force there is. Let’s use it.

Top photo by Neil Banas.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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