Seafood Buying Guides Now Available on iPhone


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
January 11, 2009

Consumers looking to make sustainable seafood purchasing decisions can now turn to their iPhone for advice.

The sustainable seafood buying guides published by Monterey Bay Aquarium and Environmental Defense Fund are now available as an iPhone applications.

The first application, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide, which groups seafood species into three categories — best choices, good alternatives and avoid — can be downloaded on iTunes for free. It was released on Dec. 31.

“I love the amount of detailed research that is available in the [application],” says one user in iTunes’ customer reviews. “I’ve carried the wallet card religiously for years, but often wondered why some fish were OK and other were discouraged. Now I feel like I’m standing on the shoulder of giants. And, as a bonus, I never have to go searching for the latest card again.”

Additionally, Monterey Bay Aquarium just updated its guide, adding Arctic char and yellowtail to all regional guides, red porgy to the U.S. Southeast guide and round whitefish to the U.S. Central guide. Arctic char is labeled as a best choice, U.S. farmed yellowtail as a best alternative, Australian or Japanese farmed yellowtail as avoid, red porgy as a good alternative and gillnet-caught Lake Eire round whitefish as a good alternative.

The second application, the Safe Seafood guide, which also groups seafood into three color-coded categories based on whether the species is caught or farmed in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner, has been available on iTunes for 99 cents since Nov. 27; 10 percent of the proceeds from application sales will be donated to the Environmental Defense Fund.

Developed by San Francisco entrepreneur Tobin Fisher, the guide is based on “data from a wide range of reputable sources, including multiple environmental research and advocacy groups, government agencies and academic research” and features more than 100 species.

Some industry organizations, including the National Fisheries Institute, have called the seafood buying guides misleading and contradictory, partly because they don’t factor in the social and economic effects of seafood production.

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