The Top 5 Most Sustainable Seafood Choices for Summer Seafood Menus

Pacific sardines

Summer may seen synonymous with light seafood dishes, but it’s just as important to bear in mind what seafood you’re eating. Sustainability is an important quality when picking your favorite summer fish recipes. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up some of the best sustainable seafood choices for this summer.

Many different lists are published all over the web to let you know what local fish are sustainably fished near you, and the more local you can keep your fish, the better!

With President Obama’s decision to crack down on illegal fishing and seafood fraud, the sustainable seafood choices are getting easier to find. But the battle isn’t won yet. It’s important to stay informed in order to make good choices. The marine stewardship council certifies certain seafoods as sustainable, such as anchovies, clams, crabs, hake, mussels, salmon and swordfish. But it’s just as important to look at other information on the label to stay informed about which versions of these seafoods are actually sustainably fished. If you’re going to be eating a lot of fish this summer, it might be worthwhile to download a sustainable fish app. In the meantime, here are just some of our top choices.

1. Farmed Oysters

There are many reasons to feel good about eating oysters, and sustainability is just one of them. Choose farmed oysters from a suspended culture system. This technique involves hanging nets from a flotation system so that oysters are in the water at all times, rising and falling from the tides. Because oysters cannot tolerate toxins, oyster farming often increases awareness of the ecological status of the waters in which they are farmed, making oyster farming a sustainable practice.

2. Canadian Pacific Spot Prawns

As far as sustainable shrimp and prawns are concerned, you have several choices, but one of the best right now are Canadian Pacific spot prawns. Spot prawns are harvested by trap and are named for the distinctive white spots they spot on their abdomens. Their sweet flavor makes them a great choice in our roasted shrimp with lemon pasta recipe.

3. Canadian and U.S. Pacific Purse Seine Sardines

Sardines are fantastically healthy for you, and when you choose sustainable sardines, they’re even better. Purse seine is a large-scale fishing operation that is nevertheless supported by Greenpeace, because fish that swim in schools are targeted by this method, and relatively clean catches can therefore be procured. Sardines have long been a part of Scandinavian diets, where the natural fatty acids of the fish can shine. They’re also delicious in our recipe for pasta with sardines.

4. North Atlantic Silver Hake

Hake is a very popular fish in Spanish cuisine and is a delicious alternative to white fish like cod. While silver hake was previously overfished, it is now safe to eat silver hake hailing from the Atlantic, as long as it’s fished further north than North Carolina. Try it cooked simply with garlic and pepper, for a hake recipe that will allow you to get to know this previously unfamiliar sustainable fish.

5. Albacore Tuna

Many different kinds of tuna are not sustainable — bluefin tuna is so endangered that Iron Chef America has banned it from use in the show — but if you focus on troll or pole-caught Albacore, you’re in the clear. Pole-catching keeps out other species like dolphins who are occasionally caught in tuna nets. Albacore has a more mild flavor than some kinds of tuna, but it’s still delicious in our spiced fish tacos.

Related on Organic Authority

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Mussels: A Sustainable Seafood Choice

Image: NOAA FishWatch

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco