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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Doggy Bag: The Limits of Seafood Watch

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 6:10 PM

click to enlarge Looks puny, doesn't it? - LUUMINOUS*/FLICKR
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Say what?: Scanning the menu after your hour-plus wait for a spot at Nopa, do you really whip out your Seafood Watch card and go all save the oceans? Probably not. At The Ethicurean today, Mental Masala considers findings in a publication called Oryx on the effectiveness of consumer sustainability info. The problem with seafood? It's complicated as hell, with nomenclature as variable as family names in a 19th-century Russian novel. Ahi: Isn't it ruinous? Mental describes his own recent confusion in an Oakland restaurant:

One of the dishes featured "ahi tuna," and so I looked for it on my copy of the newly released January 2010 Seafood Watch card. Although there were almost a dozen tuna listings, ahi was not among them and our mental seafood thesauruses weren't coming up with any answers. So we passed on the dish, even though we could have pulled out an iPhone and done an Internet search, but didn't.
Turns out the "ahi" in question was probably either bigeye (Thunnus obesus) or yellowfin (T. albacares), and either acceptable or not, depending on how the fish in question was caught. Why, it's enough to make a man give up and go for the rib eye.

The burden of choosing well can't sit solely with you, on your crammed two-top at Nopa. Government needs to step up. Mental:

Like the discussions around organic produce or humanely-raised animals, there comes a point where individual action needs to be supplemented by something bigger, like improved practices at the wholesale level, and even at the national and international government level.
So whip out your card, by all means. But don't think it'll be remotely enough.

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