For those who haven’t taken the plunge into vegetarianism or veganism, but who are concerned about the ecological consequences of fish consumption, there are some good resources online. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has printable pocket-sized seafood guides, highlighting which species are harvested in relatively sustainable ways and which should definitely be avoided. The Blue Ocean Institute also has a number of resources, including a website for looking up species and a guide that can be downloaded.
Species that are particularly threatened (as well as often caught in highly unsustainable ways) include:
- Bluefin tuna
- Chilean Sea Bass (this is an industry name for Patagonian Toothfish)
- Orange Roughy
- Atlantic Cod
- Atlantic Halibut
- Oreos (the fish, not the cookies)
- Sturgeon Caviar
- Atlantic Salmon (note, all Atlantic salmon in the U.S. is farmed)
While it is inadequate to think about marine conservation in terms of single species, such lists do provide a reasonably accessible way for consumers to scrutinize their actions. In the long run, however, marine resources need to be thought about in terms of whole ecosystems that need to be protected from threats including over-exploitation, toxins, and climatic changes.