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Help Make a Change: Support Sustainable Fish

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Cooking fish is a true joy. Eating fish is equally rewarding. Fish, with all its healthy fats, essential oils, and nutrients, fits in nicely in a balanced diet. However, on an exceptionally primeval level, it just tastes first-rate. The fishing industry is gigantic. I mean worldwide, vital to the survival of humankind, gigantic. All right, that last bit was a little hyperbole, but not much.

These days, with everyone wanting to “live green,” one of the issues that does not get enough publicity is the sustainability of fish. Our oceans are in crisis. Oceans supply us with food, help normalize our climate, and provide a source of revenue for millions of people. Humans have been fishing the ocean for thousands of years. Nevertheless, technology has allowed us to fish deeper and farther than ever before. Some methods are incredibly efficient, while others have us on the verge of disaster.

Dredging the ocean bottom with tires and chain-mesh is are the principal method for harvesting groundfish, scallops, and clams. Many marine biologists believe that this method of fishing harms the ocean more than any other endeavor. As with countless other issues in life, there are conflicting reports about the long term damage being done by this method. However, incidental catch, net-pen farming, habitat modification, and ocean dumping are undoubtedly having a caustic effect on the oceans' ecosystems.

When purchasing fish I always look for line-caught products. Catching fish by longline, hook and line, or turtle-safe and dolphin-safe nets is far less damaging to the ocean environment.

Overfishing of certain types of fish is another big concern. The ocean cannot provide an infinite supply of fish. If a fish is caught at a much faster rate than it can reproduce… there will come a time when it will cease to exist. A good example is Chilean Sea Bass. That is a marketing moniker, by the way: the real name of that particular species of fish is Patagonian Toothfish. This fish has enjoyed intense popularity in the restaurant industry mainly because it is an especially lenient fish to cook. The flesh can withstand longer cooking times without drying out. As you can imagine, this makes it very attractive to lazy, incompetent cooks looking for an easy way out.

This article does not scratch the surface of the growing problem. It is my genuine hope that you will continue to educate yourself about the current status of our oceans and the fish we eat. Here is a short list of many wonderful sustainable fish we can enjoy: Arctic Char (farmed), Albacore Tuna (pole-caught), Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in US), Bay Scallops (farmed), Crawfish (farmed in US), Dungeness Crab (wild-caught US), Pacific Cod (longline caught Alaska), Spot Prawns (wild-caught British Columbia), and Hand-Diver Sea Scallops.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has an amazingly detailed website offering guides to seafood. On their site you will find comprehensive studies on what seafood to avoid, great alternatives, and much more. In addition, Rick Moonen is one of America’s finest chefs. His wonderful book, Fish Without a Doubt, is an ode to the cooking of seafood. He offers numerous fantastic recipes for cooking tasty, sustainable fish.

The ocean is a treasure trove of astounding delights. Do your part to ensure that future generations can derive pleasure from what it has to offer. You want to be able to point at a time in history and proudly declare that you were on the right side of the ledger. The time is now. Stand up and be counted.

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About Lazaro Cooks

  • Leah


  • John Wilson…Thank you for reading it and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • John Wilson

    Very useful article, Lazaro, thanks for writing it.

  • Jessie…Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated.

  • Life is great when together with a great person… thanks for your great information.

  • Olithia thank you for the heads-up. I did not know about them, but I will research further. This problem cannot be encapsulated in one article. I will be posting many more articles on the stauts of our oceans.

  • Olithia Rose

    Thanks for this article Lazaro. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Salmon Safe which is based out in the Pacific Northwest. I found out about it on Food and Wine Seminar I went on and its a great program that has helped with restoring water quality as well as salmon habitats. I think that something like that should be implemented in other major fishing industry regions.

  • El Bicho…Oye glad you liked the article. Looking forward to following your movie reviews…Dale!

  • No, zing. It seems as though LB has got an axe to grind. So let him!

  • LB,

    Don’t get exercised for nothing. Not only is it a waste of time; it doesn’t speak well of your intellectual acumen.

    I believe I have straightened this out with Lazaro, he accepted my apology, and as far as I am concerned, that’s all that matters. Consequently, you comments after the fact are way past due.

    Get a grip, get a life, whatever. Get back to your basketball game and be a good boy.

  • zingzing

    el b, let it go… they kissed and made up.

  • Good article. Hope you write more in the same vein.

    “I do define it by making a large number of superficial comments.”

    Last I checked no one appointed you judge around here, Roger. And you are certainly the last one to complain about a large number of pointless comments considering your output.

  • Hey, no problem, Lazaro. It was a simple misunderstanding. I’ve seen spam attacks lately and I raised the flag, that’s all.

    I don’t mind being corrected.

  • Lili Q

    Lazaro, thank you for explaining in such detail what it means to to repect our ocean environment and how if affects ocean life. We need more people as your self to be vocal and educate, so we can leave the beautiful oceans we enjoyed in our youth to our children and grandchildren.

  • Roger…My olvie branch extended. Can we be friends now?

  • Actually, you too, Lazaro, decided to call me on my mistake. Well, my remark was directed at you as well.

    Happy Easter.

  • Same to you, Lazaro. And I apologize for the fact that I addressed this remark to you.

    RJ was the intended recipient.

  • Well…just spell my name correctly next time. Have a happy & blessed Easter Sunday…roger nowosielski

  • Hey, Lazarro, get a life.

    I thought you were a spammer. Now I know better. So what else do you care to say?

  • RJ…I hear you. I don’t know what this dude’s problem is. If you don’t like the article, it’s an opinion, whatever. But calling me a “spammer”…WTF is that all about?! Not much in the way of incentive to contribute to BC. Thank you by the way RJ…for reading the article and commenting.

  • RJ

    I’m not sure what Roger’s problem is, but I found this to be a good article about a serious issue.

    One of the greatest environmental problems we face is overfishing. I would love to see environmentalists focus more on this legitimate issue than they do on more questionable theories such as AGW.

    If the planet’s temperature increases a couple degrees over the next century, and some portion of that increase is due to human factors, that might be a problem. But the absolute rape of our oceans is without question a serious problem, and one that will have a huge impact on all our lives in the near future.

  • roger nowosielski…Who are you?! Do you not have anything better to do than stress about me?! I would recommed a hobby of some sort. A spammer?! No just an avid reader and writer. Wonderful welcome to blogcritics I guess.

  • I don’t define it, Lisa, by making a large number of comments, but I do define it by making a large number of superficial comments.

    As to pointing out my “error,” you surely could have done it in a less adversarial way than by telling me “to pay attention.”

    Indeed, if I’m wrong, I stand corrected. It’s your manner of responding that I find objectionable.

  • Roger, if you define “spamming” as making a large number of comments on diverse threads, then I’m afraid you’re guilty as charged.

    And I’m not being defensive; I’m merely pointing out your error in calling a fellow writer and a member of the BC community a spammer.

  • Well, he’s still spamming, Lisa, judging by a number of comments on diverse threads.

    You may have more time on your hands than I, but I don’t certainly cherish looking up every single commenter. It looked like a spam to me, hence my comment.

    If I am wrong, fine. But your attitude of trying to reprimand me is bad form, especially when you’re telling me to “try to pay attention.”

    I see no reason for this kind of defensiveness. Do you?

  • Roger, if you’d bother to take a look at the top of the page, you’ll notice that Lazaro is a writer here, not a spammer. Try to pay attention.

  • Another spam attack, Editors, by Lazaro.

    Can we make him go away?

  • Nancy…You are absolutely right about Greenpeace. They are a valueable source of information. Thank you for taking time to read my article.

  • RJ…Thank you for taking the time to comment. Agreed! It is a massive problem.

  • RJ

    Great article. Overfishing is a serious problem.

  • Wow, what a wonderful, informative and important article! It seems that lots of people who eat fish don’t realize the crisis that our oceans are in.

    I recently saw a wonderful Discovery Channel t.v. documentary on the subject titled, “Wild Pacific,” and it scared the living daylights out of me. At one point in the piece, it asserted that fishing vessels catch in one day what used to take one month to catch 50 years ago! Also, fishing nets are so vast, they can be seen from outer space! If that’s not overfishing, I don’t know what is.

    Greenpeace also dedicates much of its resources to preserving our oceans, and I urge you to check out their website as well.

    Lazaro, thanks for writing out such an important topic! I hope many are enlightened and educated by it, I know I was!