New Internationalist

Bite Back!

Issue 325

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Bite Back!

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[image, unknown] Alaskan salmon
Perhaps the only healthy wild salmon stocks in the world, regulated to avoid overfishing.

Seemingly abundant, squid is currently fished at a sustainable level.

Crabs and Lobsters
These can be the least environmentally damaging seafood if caught using traps not trawlers.

aka dorado, dolphinfish. A fast-breeding fish with abundant stocks.

Management of mackerel fisheries in the Atlantic has improved stocks. Only the king mackerel is overfished in the Gulf of Mexico.

Generally in good shape. If they are farmed, check that the ecological impacts are minimal.

New Zealand cod
aka hoki. Currently, the cod fishery is sustainably managed.

Pacific halibut
Management is keeping Pacific halibut at healthy levels but the Atlantic halibut fishery has collapsed due to overfishing.

Pacific Ocean albacore / tombo tuna
aka 'white tuna'. Caught with hook
and line, bycatch is minimal. But be
aware that albacore is overfished in
the South Atlantic.

Populations are healthy but if overconsumed sole could go the way of the Atlantic cod.

Sardines and Herring
Once nominated the 'most abundant fish' by the Guinness Book of Records. But bycatch levels of other fish could be improved.

The best of the farmed fish - confined
to ponds and raised on vegetables.

If caught by hook and line. Trout farming is as polluting as salmon farming (see 'Farmed salmon' right).

US catfish
Usually raised in farm enclosures on a vegetable diet, minimizing environmental impact.

Yellowfin and skipjack tuna
aka 'chunk light'. Still quite abundant though may be caught with high bycatch, including dolphins. For this tuna, check the company's
environmental record.

[image, unknown] Atlantic cod
The cod's sea habitat has been damaged and the fishery mismanaged and overfished - providing the world with a case study of how not to fish.

Atlantic groundfish
including haddock, pollack, flounder, monkfish. Caught in the same bottom-trawling nets, these became popular after cod declined but are now overfished.

Bluefin tuna
A popular sushi fish, it is overfished in both the Atlantic and to a lesser extent the Pacific.

Chilean sea bass /
Patagonian toothfish
This slow-growing, deep-ocean species is particularly vulnerable and heavily overfished.

Farmed salmon
Fed on ground wild fish, raised in pens in the open sea where their waste pollutes - unless farmed salmon is raised in tanks, they are resource-guzzlers. Most salmon is farmed.

Orange roughy
Found around Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand, these fish grow slowly and are severely overfished. Trawlers that catch them often kill many other species.

Sharks are in bad shape - slow to reproduce, they often die in fishing nets or are caught for shark-fin soup.

Shrimp and prawns
Wild prawns are caught using destructive trawlers. Prawn farming wipes out mangroves and pollutes local waters.

aka yellowtail snapper and red snapper. Red snapper is severely overfished. Snapper fishing kills high numbers of juvenile fish and other species.

Atlantic swordfish are overfished while in the Pacific this fishery kills many other species including sharks, turtles and marine mammals.

Tropical groupers
Caught with cages or hook and line, both of which can be lost at sea and kill more fish. Bycatch for groupers is high and they are also overfished.



[image, unknown] For all other seafood, ask questions, get answers and make an informed choice. Alternatively, you could go for a vegetarian diet.

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This article was originally published in issue 325

New Internationalist Magazine issue 325
Issue 325

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