Let me start by saying we are not opposed to efforts to educate people about seafood sustainability. In fact sustainable seafood is the life blood of our community. It's important for consumers to understand that responsible members of the seafood community are the true stewards of sustainability. And their work contributes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) assessment that in this country about 80% of the stocks are sustainably maintained.
With that said... I must draw your attention to yet another confusing contradiction consumers face when using these sustainable seafood pocket guides and red lists.
I've told you ad nauseam about the fact that Greenpeace says Alaska pollock is about to disappear off the planet while their eco-warrior brethren say it should be part of your "best choices" list. And how Monterey Bay features "Aji" at the top of its "best choices" list but the asterisk next to it corresponds to a note suggesting consumers should "limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants." And today there's more.
As part of a story on these sustainable seafood guides a local news report in Washington D.C. highlighted the "Four Fish You Should Never Sever." They interviewed a representative from Environmental Defense and explained the cards.
Then the report revealed the 4 fish to avoid according to The Endangered Fish Alliance. (Which is part of Environmental Defence with a "c", a Canadian group)
On the list of fish you should never serve is swordfish. But if you look closely at the Alliance's entry on swordfish you will notice that they were kind enough to offer "sustainable alternatives" and included in their list of "sustainable alternatives" is "Tuna (long line caught...Bigeye [and] Yellowfin.)" If you then pull out your handy dandy Environmental Defense (with an "s", the American Group) sustainable seafood guide you'll find long line caught Bigeye and Yellowfin on its "worst choices" list.
So, let's get this right-- on the Environmental Defence (with a "c") list they're a good "sustainable alternative" and on the Environmental Defense (with an "s") list they're a "worst choice." I deal with this stuff all day, everyday and even I'm confused. (Tobias to the rescue.)