What kind of fish do you like to eat? If you are an avid seafood diner, chances are you answered salmon or tuna. If you live a little on the edge, you might have ventured red drum or sheepshead. If you are a fisherman, your answer probably was something like ‘what I just caught.’ Let’s chat about sustainable seafood for a minute and what it means to eat seasonal seafood.
“What was just caught” is the number one, absolute best answer to the question and you, the seafood consumer, would be well advised to commit this response to memory when ordering seafood at a favorite restaurant or buying from the local fish monger. Order what is fresh and locally caught. The chef would not have it on the menu if it were not deliciously edible as well as locally sustainable. Your fishmonger will share recipes and advise you on just how to cook it.
Like the vegetables harvested by the farmer, seafood also has a season. Check out any fisheries management website and you will soon learn that you cannot fish whatever species fish you want whenever you want to fish it. Agree or not with all decisions, local fisheries are highly managed and the goal is conservation.
If you, the all-powerful, seafood consumer, insist on only ordering mahi mahi because it is your favorite fish you might also have to contend with not having your fish caught locally. Yes, it can get confusing, sometimes eating mahi is eating responsibly and sometimes it is not. If you order a fish that is not in season, meaning not caught within the past few days, chances are the chef at your favorite seafood restaurant is ordering his fish straight off a BigFood fish truck and that fish on your plate never swam anywhere close to your favorite seaside restaurant.
So, is there an easy way for you to support sustainable seafood? The answer is yes. Learn what is in season and make that your meal. It really is that simple.
Amy Gaw, Epicurean Contributor