Fish Wars

Salmon picture by Manet

NPR recently pursued an indepth investigation of the Marine Stewardship Council, an organization which certifies seafood as good for the environment. In their three-part series, Under the Label: Sustainable Seafood, NPR reports that  "as more retailers promise to sell only sustainable-labeled seafood, the program is certifying fisheries that don't deserve it."

The MSC is a non-profit, non-government organization that provides a sustainable label for fish. According to the series, "The MSC says its label guarantees that the wild seafood was caught using methods that do not deplete the natural supply. It also guarantees that fishing companies do not cause serious harm to other life in the sea, from coral to dolphins."  Over the series NPR explains the process, history, motivation, and cost/profit balance behind the "sustainable label" that everyone from Walmart to Whole Foods now use. In the end, they cast considerable doubt that the label delivers what it claims to.

The MSC was obviously not pleased with the report. They submitted a response to NPR, in which they claim "NPR did not present a complete or balanced view of its program."

We encourage you to read both sides (follow the link above to read all three parts and the response) and come to your own conclusions. We'll continue to do what we do - err on the side of caution and use the app that the Monterey Aquarium's Seafood Watch allows you to download for free.  An easy-to-use (and free) app, it lists suitable fish for cooking or sushi, and includes recipes and substitution recommendations.

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