ocean floor with school of fish

Informed choice. It is what matters in pretty much every purchasing situation you’ll encounter. Where did this thing I want come from? How much harm might getting it to me cause, or did it help someone or many someones along the way? Is the place from which I am purchasing a company that I feel good about giving my dollars? Is the thing itself something I need? Do I need a new one of these or would a gently used one serve me just as well?

When it comes to food choices, the stakes are high as we educate ourselves more about chemicals, artificial ingredients, sustainable procurement methods, organic options, local sourcing, and more.

Seafood is often a healthy dietary choice, yet we have all heard various horror stories about mercury, endangered species, horrible farm-raised conditions, overfishing, shark finning, etc. Fortunately, there is an online tool that can help us immensely with informed choosing. Seafood Watch is an online database sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to inform us in our search for sustainable seafood. They have both the website and an app for your phone. Enter the seafood or sushi name you’re considering at the market, farmer’s market, fishmonger, or restaurant, and you’ll get feedback about “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and “Avoid.”

They update regularly, so last month’s Chilean Sea Bass scare or Alaskan Wild Caught Salmon may have trigger new and important suggestions this month. There is also a quick primer on the type of seafood itself and regions where the best options are sourced, articles about ocean issues and aquaculture, and some pretty enticing ocean-friendly recipes created by top chefs.

Next time you belly up to the sushi bar, give the list a quick once over to be sure your favorites are still the best choice for you and the planet.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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