Green Groups to Release Sustainable-Sushi Guides

Bluefin tuna and farmed salmon and are among the seafood species three conservation groups are warning sushi lovers to avoid eating because they're unsustainable.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Environmental Defense Fund and Blue Ocean Institute announced yesterday that they're publishing color-coded consumer guides categorizing popular sushi items according to whether the species used to prepare them are sustainable and healthful.

Based on Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch guide, the sustainable-sushi guides will be available in print and on the Internet beginning Oct. 22. The sushi items included in the guides were selected by Environmental Defense.

In addition to bluefin tuna (hon maguro or kuro maguro) and farmed salmon (sake), freshwater eel (unagi) is on the guides' "red" list of species to avoid consuming because they're caught or raised in an environmentally destructive manner.

The guides also comprise a "yellow" list of species to eat with caution due to environmental concerns and a "green" list of species to eat freely because they're caught or raised in an environmentally friendly way. Wild Alaska salmon (sake), farmed scallops (hotate) and Pacific halibut (hirame) are sustainable choices, according to the guides.

Additionally, the guides incorporate human-health recommendations from Environmental Defense. Species containing relatively high levels of methylmercury or PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are flagged.

"The reality is quite simple," says Sheila Bowman, Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch outreach manager. "If you care about the future of the oceans, you'll avoid red-listed sushi."

While Monterey Bay, Environmental Defense and Blue Ocean Institute worked collaboratively on the project, the guides are not identical.

The three groups are members of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, which formed in May to help companies develop and implement sustainable-seafood purchasing policies.


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