A guide to buying fish

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A guide to buying fish

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1 A guide to buying fish on Tue May 08, 2018 10:02 am



The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program maintains state-specific guides to help consumers and businesses make responsible seafood choices by avoiding fish that perpetuate destructive fishing and farming practices. The one below is Wisconsin’s current guide to buying fish, which lets you know what your best choices are, which fish are good alternatives and species to avoid.
How to use this guide:

Best Choices
Buy first; they’re well managed and caught or farmed responsibly.

Good Alternatives
Buy, but be aware there are concerns with how they’re caught or farmed.

Take a pass on these for now; they’re overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.

Many seafood items appear in more than one column. Please be sure to check them all.

Best choices
Arctic Char (farmed) | Barramundi (U.S. and Vietnam farmed) | Bass (U.S. hooks and lines, farmed) Catfish (U.S.) | Clams, Mussels and Oysters | Cod: Pacific (AK) | Crab: King, Snow and Tanner (AK) | Perch: Yellow (Lake Erie trap nets, except Ohio) | Prawn (Canada and U.S.) | Rockfish (AK, CA, OR and WA) | Salmon (New Zealand) | Sardines: Pacific (Canada and U.S.) | Scallops (farmed) | Shrimp (U.S. farmed and AK) | Smelt: Rainbow (Lakes Erie, Huron, Superior, except gillnets) | Tilapia (Canada, Ecuador, Peru and U.S.) | Trout: Lake (Lake Superior, MI) | Trout: Rainbow/Steelhead (U.S. farmed) | Tuna: Albacore (trolls, pole and lines) | Tuna: Skipjack (Pacific trolls, pole and lines) | Whitefish: Lake (Lake Michigan, WI)

Good alternatives
Branzino (Mediterranean farmed) | Cod: Pacific (Canada and U.S.) | Crab: Dungeness (Canada and U.S.) | Lobster (Bahamas and U.S.) | Mahi Mahi (Ecuador and U.S. longlines) | Salmon (Canada Pacific and U.S.) | Scallops: Sea (wild) | Shrimp (Canada and U.S. wild, Ecuador and Honduras farmed) | Squid (Chile, Mexico, Peru and U.S.) | Swordfish (U.S.) | Tilapia (China, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico and Taiwan) | Trout: Lake (Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, Canada, MI and WI) | Trout: Rainbow/Steelhead (Chile farmed) | Tuna: Albacore (U.S. longlines) | Tuna: Skipjack (free school, imported trolls, pole and lines, U.S. longlines) | Tuna: Yellowfin (free school, trolls, pole and lines, U.S. longlines) | Whitefish: Lake (Lakes Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan (except WI) and Superior, Canada and MI)

Basa/Pangasius/Swai Cod: Pacific (Japan and Russia) | Crab (Argentina, Asia and Russia) | Lobster: Spiny (Belize, Brazil, Honduras and Nicaragua) | Mahi Mahi (imported) | Octopus: Common (Portugal and Spain trawls, Mexico) | Orange Roughy Salmon (Canada Atlantic, Chile, Norway and Scotland) | Sardines: Atlantic (Mediterranean) | Sharks Shrimp (other imported sources) | Squid (Argentina, China, India and Thailand) | Swordfish (imported longlines) | Tuna: Albacore (imported except trolls, pole and lines) | Tuna: Bluefin Tuna: Skipjack (imported purse seines) | Tuna: Yellowfin (longlines except U.S.) | Whitefish: Lake (Lake Superior, WI and Lake Winnipeg)
Fish to Note

Lake whitefish has long been a mainstay of Great Lakes commercial fishing and is considered the best tasting Great Lakes fish. Note that the best choice of whitefish is from Wisconsin. But with all Great Lakes fish, be sure to adhere to advised consumption amounts. According to Eat Wisconsin Fish’s guidelines, you should only eat wild-caught whitefish from Lake Michigan once a month, and wild-caught whitefish from Lake Superior once a week.

Rockfish is a less popular fish that’s actually a culinary rockstar. Sitka Salmon Shares also catches the abundant rockfish in Alaska, and it offers multiple recipes for the sweet, mild variety on its website, including beer-battered rockfish tacos, Greek-baked black bass and a black bass BLT.

Farmed Rainbow trout is the specialty of Rushing Waters Fisheries. Catch your own at the Palmyra fish farm and learn how to cook it yourself.

Populations of Atlantic cod have drastically depleted due to overfishing. The next time you’re out for Friday-night fish fry and cod is on the menu, be sure to ask if it’s Pacific cod from Alaska, Canada or the U.S.

Note that you should avoid buying albacore tuna from imported sources (except trolls, pole and lines). The next time you’re picking up a few cans at the grocery store, be sure to turn the can around and read the label to find the source of the fish.


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