This piece and the accompanying recipe were originally researched and developed around the idea that we might help educate our community on buying and eating more sustainable seafood, but times they are a changin’. And as we all shift our shopping and cooking tactics in a time where various forms of social distancing and quarantine are becoming the new norm, we have updated this piece and it's accompanying resources to ensure it is as helpful as possible no matter your current situation.
Our oceans (and the life they support) provide 50% percent of the air we breathe. We also know that our marine life is threatened by multiple factors - overfishing, climate change, and other human environmental footprints now impact the most far reaches of the ocean. We also know that eating fish and other seafood is generally good for you. Fish is high in protein, provides omega-3 fats and can also contain nutrients such as vitamin D and selenium. As an added nutritional bonus, it’s also low in saturated fat. Shellfish is also high in lean protein and is rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12. Eating seafood overall, is still generally considered better for the environment than eating beef, poultry, or pork.
The truth is, which types of seafood are sustainable are constantly changing based on the season, as well as updated fishing/farming practices. Our best advice is to stay educated as best you can. Monterey Seafood Watch is a great resource for regularly updated information on what seafood is "best" to consume. They have an app and printable consumer guides that are regularly updated.
When you do buy fish, we also recommend buying whole fish where available to get the most out of it. You can freeze fillets for later use, use bones for stock, fish heads for stews, and many kinds of fish skins can be fried and eaten as cracklin. If butchering a fish is a little too intimidating, you can always ask the person behind your seafood counter to do the work for you.
One of the best things we can all do is ask more questions. Ask your shops and restaurants if they serve sustainable seafood. Even if they don't bring consistent awareness, consumer demand will help push for better industry practices.
Per the most recent consumer guides from the Monterey Seafood Watch, clams/mollusks are on their highly recommended list. As such, we brought you a seafood-infused update to the classic Pasta Aglio e Olio. Most ingredients can be found right in your pantry (don't have fresh herbs? substitute dried!) This recipe also works well with scallops, mussels, and even can work with tinned anchovies.
Sea to Table's mission is to get more people in the US to eat better fish, they travel and work with the men and women who both harvest from and protect national waters. They ship FedEx Ground, and also include a traceability label on what you order, letting you know where your seafood is from and who supplied it.
Patagonia now offers a bit more than your favorite outdoor-ready down jacket, in their brand Patagonia Provisions. They have firmly entered the food-space by partnering with farmers who are working to fix broken food chains to produce foods that aim to regenerate the environment. They offer a variety of packaged fish that can be shipped straight to your door (and are perfect for your first post COVID-19 camping trip).
We hope this inspires you to cook and eat more seafood responsibly. You know what they say - just because you're stuck at home, doesn't mean you can't eat seafood responsibly.