Buying guide endorses some New England fisheries


Steven Hedlund

Published on
January 10, 2011

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s (MBA) Seafood Watch program on Monday updated its influential seafood-buying guide, and New England’s rebounding groundfish fisheries got a big thumbs-up.

The guide, which is updated every six months, groups seafood species into three color-coded categories — best choices (green), good alternatives (yellow) and avoid (red) — according to whether they’re harvested or farmed in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner.

This time around, the MBA added haddock, Atlantic pollock, summer flounder and hook-and-line caught Gulf of Maine cod to the good alternatives list. They join American lobster, sea scallops, bluefish and Atlantic herring on the good alternatives list.

With the change, 80 percent of New England seafood landings, in terms of value, are rated as either a best choice or good alternative. That amounts to USD 625.7 million of New England’s USD 780 million seafood catch in 2009.

The MBA attributed New England’s rebounding groundfish fisheries to effective management practices.

“The latest U.S. stock assessments recognize that Atlantic haddock, Atlantic pollock, summer flounder and some cod stocks are showing signs of recovery,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of the Seafood Watch program. “Science isn’t static, so we’re reflecting these changes in our recommendations to consumers and the major buyers we work with.”

Those major buyers include Whole Foods Market, Compass Group and Aramark.

More than 35 million pocket-sized guides have been distributed nationwide since the program’s inception in 1999, and the program’s iPhone application has been downloaded nearly 500,000 times since its debut two years ago.

The guide will be updated again in July.

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