Sustainable Seafood Guide

Salmon filets sustainable seafood

Our oceans are overfished. There are good sustainable practices that prevent overfishing. Differentiating between farmed and wild fish can also be useful with concerns about environmental pollution. This guide can help you find seafood you feel good about, where your seafood is from and how it was caught. Bear in mind that a lot of seafood has no labels at all.

You can also check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide or download the Seafood Watch App for more detailed information on what fish species to avoid and which are safe to consume. 

Certification Labels

Best Aquaculture Practices Certified

Best Aquaculture Practices Certified

The Marine Stewardship Council is one of the most sustainable labels for wild-caught fish. The goal of MSC is to minimize overfishing while protecting habitats. The program is third-party certified, however, it has many ties to the supermarket chains which supply its products (Whole Foods and Wal-Mart).

Farmed Responsibly ASC Certified

Farmed Responsibly ASC Certified

ASC is an independent organization which certifies environmental and social wellbeing in farmed seafood. Their standards are keeping with the guidelines set forth by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the ISEAL Appliance Code of Good Practice. They have strong worker welfare standards and strong traceability requirements.

Whole Foods Responsibly Farmed

Whole Foods Responsibly Farmed

This label has strong sustainability standards for the farmed seafood sold at Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods developed these comprehensive standards with Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is a trusted seafood sustainability organization. The verification is then done by third-party certifiers. The label does not address worker welfare.

Best Aquaculture Practices Certified

Best Aquaculture Practices Certified

This label covers some important issues like stocking densities and tracking, however it does not address many major fish feed issues, does not prohibit drug use and does not address the most egregious labor practices. BAP is a third-party certification program for farmed fish.

Friend of the Sea Certified Sustainable

Friend of the Sea Certified Sustainable

This international third-party verified certification is for both farmed and wild seafood. Their standards are supposed to target stocks which are not overexploited, use fishing methods which don’t impact the seabed, and generate less than average 8% discards.

Dolphin Safe

Dolphin Safe

The Earth Island Institute monitors tuna companies around the world to ensure the tuna is caught by methods that do not harm dolphins and protect the marine ecosystem. In order for tuna to be considered “Dolphin Safe”, it must meet the following standards: 1. No intentional chasing, netting or encirclement of dolphins during an entire tuna fishing trip; 2. No use of drift gill nets that can inadvertently catch and harm dolphins.

Non-GMO Verified

Non-GMO Verified

This label indicates that the produce is tested to be 99% free of GMO residues. Non-GMO is not necessarily organic (though all organic is non-GMO). It also does not address pesticide or other chemical use.

Certified B Corporation

Certified B Corporation

B Corps meet the highest standards of verified environmental and social performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. It’s the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance.

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