Catch of the Day, Part One

It's not news that seafood is a lean source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids -- undoubtedly a good thing.

The new hitch? In our quest to eat lean and do the seafood thing, the oceans have become polluted and severely overfished. For the consumer, this means two things: many of your grill-friendly favorites are getting either scarce and/or are contaminated with methylmercury or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scary stuff resulting from industrial pollution.

Indeed, it's rough sailing at the seafood counter. If it's difficult for a journalist to decipher this complicated, constantly changing scenario, I know it must be overwhelming for regular folks who just want to eat fish without worry or guilt. I digested quite a bit of information at "Cooking for Solutions," a sustainable seafood and agriculture event hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAYAQ) in Monterey, Calif., earlier this month, and the overriding sentiment -- in light of all the discouraging, confusing news -- is not to give up.

If you're scratching your head about what 'sustainable' means, here are a few thoughts from Fred Kirschenman, a fellow at Iowa State University and long-time organic farmer, that might shed some light:

When we talk about sustainable, we're talking about our future...it's not about tweaking and 'just going organic,' it's about stopping no more waste, it's about conservation as well as repair of our lands and seas, and it's about finding more energy efficient ways of producing food.

Distilled further, what he's trying to say is that sustainable means creating systems of producing, supplying and selling food that not only protect land and sea, but look at how everything as connected -- natural resources, consumers, wildlife, business and commodities.

The key is to familiarize yourself with the issues and buzz words and stay informed.
The list of what's in, what's out and what's so-so is LONG and windy, so I've narrowed things down to grill-able fish you might be considering for the summer. This also gets the conversation going.

I've looked at seafood favorites such as tuna, shrimp and salmon, with eco and health updates, alternatives when possible, plus a short list of extreme baddies and goodies in these area. Check blog later this morning for the juicy details on the catch of the day.

By Kim ODonnel |  May 31, 2006; 10:15 AM ET Seafood
Previous: One, Two, Buckle My Berry | Next: Sustainable Seafood Hook Up: The Details

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