Sustainable Seafood: Recipes for Thai Shrimp Curry, Salmon and Black Cod

Three eco-chefs share their seafood secrets.

| May/June 2007

Unless you’ve been living on the bottom of the sea for the past several years, you’ve heard some of the controversy about the health benefits and risks associated with eating fish. A natural source of protein with positive effects on heart health, fish can contain hazardous mercury and sometimes PCBs (toxic industrial chemicals that accumulate at the bottoms of rivers, lakes and coastal areas and build up in the fatty tissues of fish).

Most experts agree you can safely reap the benefits of eating fish by limiting consumption to once per week (or less often if the fish is high in mercury). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not eat swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel because of high mercury content. The FDA also advises women and children to limit tuna consumption.

Then there are the tricky environmental issues: Many fish, including Atlantic cod, orange roughy, Chilean seabass and bluefin tuna, are dangerously overfished. Some aquaculture methods, including salmon farming, produce concentrated fecal waste that pollutes surrounding waters. And the methods for catching some fish in the wild—such as trawl nets, dredging and traps—kill other species. (Swordfish, for example, are caught on long lines that entangle endangered sea turtles.) Seafood Watch estimates more than 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are either fully fished or overfished, so these issues are more important than ever.

Fortunately, Seafood Watch can help you make ocean-friendly choices, and The Green Guide evaluates mercury and PCBs in seafood. Both offer downloadable pocket guides to healthy, sustainable choices (see “Pick-of-the-Catch Websites,” page 76).

A few supermarket labels are also helpful. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certifies sustainable fisheries; you’ll find MSC-labeled fish at stores such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Safeway and even Wal-Mart. And as always, look for “dolphin safe” and “turtle safe” designations.

Thai Shrimp Curry  

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