What’s for dinner on World Oceans Day, Saturday, June 8th? That’s the question EDF Oceans is asking as we spread the word about healthy, sustainable and sometimes overlooked fish species that would be a tasty and environmentally friendly option for dinner.
The United States has seen the amazing recovery of many of its fish stocks thanks to sustainable practices and management systems. However, oftentimes the fish stocks that are the most sustainable are not the most popular with consumers, encouraging unsustainable sourcing of popular fish and hurting American fishermen who are doing the most for our environment.
EDF’s Oceans program wants to change this by recommending some seafood options that some Americans may not have tried before, but that are both sustainable and delicious.
“Eat your way to a healthier ocean this World Oceans Day by trying out a new sustainable seafood. Being adventurous at the fish counter is one of the best ways you can personally help the environment and support the sustainable seafood industry,” said Tim FitzgeraldDirector of Impact for EDF’s Oceans Program.
Below are just a few environmentally-friendly fish stocks to consider, along with some suggested recipes to try.
East Coast- Monkfish
This unconventional looking fish has it all, its tail is sweet, firm and mildly flavored: the perfect choice for picky eaters and seafood enthusiasts alike.
After being declared overfished in 1999, fisheries managers adopted a number of conservation measures that led to monkfish, also called angler fish, being rebuilt in 2013. After years of being red-listed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, the fishery was upgraded to “Good Alternative” in 2012.
Monkfish can be found either fresh or frozen in a variety of preparations including whole, tail fillets either with the skin on or off.
Gulf of Mexico- Red Snapper
Red Snapper is not just a popular and delicious fish across the U.S., it’s also one of America’s greatest comeback stories.
Less than 15 years ago, the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery was on the verge of collapse due to decades of poor management. In 2007, commercial fishermen shifted to a secure fishing rights system that meant more predictability for fishermen and businesses, as well as a sustainable way forward for this iconic species.
The fishery has rebounded in dramatic fashion. By 2013 snapper was taken off the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “avoid” list and is currently listed as a “good alternative”.
This stock’s recovery has meant good news for fishermen, the seafood industry, chefs and consumers who love to eat this highly versatile and easy-to-prepare fish. Try it grilled, with a light dressing of lemon and thyme.
Make sure you are getting authentic Gulf Red Snapper using programs like Gulf Wild.
West Coast- Chilipepper Rockfish and Yellowtail Rockfish
Don’t let the name confuse you, Chilipepper Rockfish won’t set your mouth on fire. But it is one of the more than 90 groundfish species that include cod, sole and more that are plentiful, sustainably harvested and delicious.
West coast Groundfish used to be wildly popular in the ’80s and ’90s. Unfortunately, unsustainable catch limits led many fish species to be overexploited, causing major problems for fish and fishermen.
In 2000, the U.S. Pacific groundfish fishery was on the verge of collapse, and the federal government declared it a disaster.
Fishermen, regulators and conservationists, including Environmental Defense Fund, worked together to design a rights-based management plan that went into operation in 2011.
Now, less than 20 years after it was declared a disaster, the fishery has rebounded spectacularly, with several overfished stocks completely rebuilt, many ahead of schedule.
Fishermen are now able to harvest millions of pounds of abundant and sustainable rockfish and other species, with last year having the largest volume of groundfish caught since the fishery was declared a disaster in 2000.
However, after years of these tasty fish being less available in the market, fishermen are not seeing the same demand for these delicious fish as there used to be. You can help by seeking out recovered groundfish species like Chilipepper Rockfish and Yellowtail Rockfish for dinner this World Oceans Day.
Positively Groundfish is a great resource for more information about the amazing recovery of the West Coast Groundfish Fishery.