Ordering Seafood Online: What Are the Most Sustainable Choices in California?

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Shrimp is one of the most popular seafoods in the world. Sustainable shrimp come from well-managed wild fisheries and clean, carefully tended farms. Image source: Flickr CC user torbakhopper

“There are more fish in the sea” may apply to dating, but unfortunately it doesn’t always apply to the sea itself. Worldwide, nearly two-thirds of all fisheries are overfished.

There are simply too many boats catching too many fish, but the good news is that governments, fishermen, wholesalers, and the public at large are heeding the warnings about crashing fish stocks. Some fisheries have bounced back from serious decline while others are going from good to better.

What that means is fish populations are not static. So how do you stay current with what’s okay to eat and what’s not? Check with third-party certifiers like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and the Marine Stewardship Council, and choose seafood providers that are certified with these organizations.

Here are three seafood choices that you can feel good about eating at your next cookout:

Carefully Managing Rockfish

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Trawling nets indiscriminately scrape sea life from the bottom, damaging habitat and resulting in bycatch of unwanted species. Image source: Wikimedia CC

Another success story and one of our favorites is yellowtail rockfish. It’s great for sushi and ceviche. There are more than 70 species of rockfish and many are very long lived—as long as 100-200 years in some species! But because they grow slowly and reproduce later in life rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing, particularly ocean-scraping, bottom trawling methods. But most Alaska and West Coast-caught rockfish come from healthy, well-managed fisheries that utilize handlines, so if you’re buying rockfish, be on the lookout for fish from these areas.

Choose King Crab from Alaska

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The crab pots that catch king crab are sustainable because of the way they release undersize crabs and

reduce bycatch. Image source: Flickr CC user Boris Kasimov

We’re also excited about our Alaskan king crab. While we’re glad to see Dungeness crab is available again, king crab is also a perennially good choice, not to mention a favorite for its rich, sweet flavor and impressive size.

The reason king crab is a sustainable choice is the harvest method used. Like most crab, the creatures are caught with traps or pots that sit on the ocean floor. These greatly reduce bycatch and don’t impact sensitive habitats. Just as importantly, the traps are designed to allow crabs below the legal size to escape and live—and breed—another day. While Alaskan king crab is safely fished, stay away from crab caught in international waters. Seafood Watch reports that a lot of crab comes from Russia where it is unregulated.

Sustainably Harvested and Farmed Shrimp

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Shrimp nets are designed to let other species escape. Image source: Flickr CC user Amanderson2

Finally, we’re big on shrimp. Because of their popularity, shrimp have taken a hit worldwide due to overfishing and harmful aquaculture operations. But our shrimp comes from sustainable aquaculture operations as well as well-regulated wild fisheries. For wild shrimp, pink shrimp from U.S. waters is a great choice for your table and the ocean.

The shellfish are harvested in nets from trawlers that not only allow other species like turtles to escape, but the nets bounce around on muddy ocean floors that recover quickly from the disturbance.

At Daily Fresh Fish, our seafood is three days fresher than supermarket fish, since we cut out the middleman and send your seafood to you as soon we get it from our fishermen. But we also know that it’s not enough to offer seafood that’s incredibly fresh and tastes good. It has to come from healthy, well-managed fisheries that can continue to provide us seafood for many years to come. That’s why we focus on three goals--fresh, tasty, and sustainable--and we deliver it right to your door, so it’s convenient, as well as good for the ocean.