Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Watching Our Seafood

One of the stops on the Columbia Talk anniversary tour last week was Monterey Bay, Calif., where most folks seem pretty serious about the environment. There was lots of discussion about airplanes spraying pesticides to counter the voracious light brown apple moth. And just about every restaurant boasted that it only served "sustainable" seafood, as outlined in these nifty little guides prepared by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here's how the aquarium folks describe what's best to eat: "Our 'Best Choices' are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Seafood to 'Avoid' are overfished and/or fished or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. You can view the guides online or download a pocket-size version."

There's regional differences. When we told people we enjoyed our rockfish in Maryland, we often drew gasps of horror. The West Coast thinks of rockfish as snapper and cod, and they are mostly on the avoid list. We call striped bass as rockfish, and we were relieved to discover that is a best choice according to the Monterey guides.

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