Some fish come from sustainable stocks or well-managed fish farms, whereas others are obtained from vulnerable or overfished populations or environmentally harmful fish farms, or caught using methods that kill dolphins, whales, seabirds, and commercially useless fish.
Organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, the Marine Conservation Society, SeaChoice and the Vancouver Aquarium provide guidance on which fish to buy and which to avoid based on whether fishing operations and fish farms use sustainable, environmentally friendly methods or engage in destructive practices.
All of these organizations provide searchable fish databases to help you determine the best fish to buy, as well as general information about fish and fishing practices.
Some popular fish that typically appear on good lists include:
Shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops;
Rainbow trout (organic farmed or freshwater);
Pacific cod (Canada and U.S. only);
Atlantic cod (Northeast Arctic – Russia, Norway; North Atlantic – Iceland; Baltic Sea – Sweden, Poland, Denmark);
Prawns (Tiger or King – organic-certified farmed or zero input system; BC wild Spot Prawn);
Halibut (farmed, onshore system; Pacific long-line caught);
Salmon (Pacific wild or Atlantic organic farmed only);
Crab (Dungeness, Kona from Australia, Stone, Blue, King from Alaska);
Shrimp (wild Pacific).
Popular fish that typically appear on the bad lists include:
Cod/snapper from many regions;
Atlantic salmon (wild caught);
Crab (King from Russia, Kona from Hawaii, Mud from Asia, Snow/Queen from Atlantic Canada and the U.S.);
Shrimp from Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Honduras, Philippines, Peru, Thailand, or Vietnam
There are often local exceptions because fisheries vary from region to region, especially for fish such as tuna where there are many different varieties and each type may be labelled good or bad based on how it is caught or farmed in a particular region.
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