Seafood and New England go together like peanut butter and jelly. In our country’s founding days, early Americans fished the bountiful seas and laid the foundation for a strong connection with the ocean and seafood that remains to this day.
Everyone knows the New England seafood favorites, like lobster and cod. And Americans in general tend to stick to just three types of seafood: shrimp, canned tuna, and salmon. But there are so many fish in the sea – pun intended – that we thought we’d celebrate National Seafood Month by letting you in on some of our staff’s own sustainable seafood favorites.
1 Fish, 2 Fish, Redfish…
“I tried Acadian Redfish for the first time in the summer of 2015. Since its nickname is “rose” fish, matching my middle name, I figured it was a good place to start. And I’m glad I did!
Stocks of redfish collapsed in the 80s, and though they were declared recovered in 2012 – having since reaching thriving levels – redfish hasn’t returned to dinner plates as ubiquitously as it was in the 1940s and 50s. So go retro, and enjoy some redfish for #SeafoodMonth. You can enjoy redfish grilled, baked, or pan-fried. Or check out this delicious spicy redfish tacos recipe from FishWatch!”
-Amanda Yanchury, Ocean Communications Associate
Blue Fish Mussels
“As a kid, if given the choice between pizza and seafood, I always chose seafood (and still do today). One of my seafood dishes of choice has always been mussels, and growing up in New England, this means blue mussels. It’s tough to beat the traditional garlic and olive oil mussel dish served with some fresh bread. And when I got older, I was happy to learn that mussels are considered one of the “best choice” seafoods to eat by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
In New England, and elsewhere in the U.S., mussels are typically grown rather than harvested from the wild; this can take place on suspended ropes or beds on the seafloor. They are fairly easy to raise because mussels get their food by filtering phytoplankton from the water column. They also improve water quality by filtering excess nutrients! Delicious and environmentally friendly – that’s a win-win for me.”
-Allison Lorenc, Ocean Conservation Program Assistant
“When folks think seafood, they don’t often think seaweed. But you should! Seaweed, the veggie of the sea, is both nutritious and delicious, with lots of protein and minerals and few fats and carbs. Seaweed has been a human food staple for millennia, and has recently been growing in popularity. This is good news for our ocean. Farmed seaweed cleans ocean water, requires few resources, and complements other fisheries.
I like to throw seaweed in soups – it can replace other greens and adds a tasty umami flavor. And although I’m not a vegan, I love this Caesar dressing featuring seaweed.”
-Megan Herzog, Staff Attorney
Swordfish: Sometimes caught with with handlines or harpoons, swordfish are an excellent seafood option because these manners of fishing are not harmful to the surrounding environment and bycatch is rare (meaning they don’t catch a lot of other marine life that must be thrown back).
US Bluefish: Bluefish are sustainably managed and enjoy healthy population levels. You can feel good eating this fish knowing that the stocks are not in danger. Most bluefish are caught by recreational fishermen, whose hook-and-line gear has minimal impact on the environment.
Black Sea Bass: Wild caught in Massachusetts, black sea bass is an excellent choice if you live in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or further south. Its populations are abundant and sustainably managed.
Americans eat less seafood than recommended, consuming fewer than 15 pounds on average per person each year. But as a healthy, protein-rich option, sustainable seafood is an excellent choice. Want to dive deeper? Check out these handy guides from FishWatch and Monterey Bay Aquarium for more options, recipes, tips on what to look for when purchasing seafood, and more!