4 Delicious Fish It’s OK To Eat


There are only so many fish in the ocean.

Fishing practices worldwide are damaging our oceans—depleting fish populations, destroying habitats and polluting the water.

Earlier this year, the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association took a big step towards dealing with destructive fishing and fish farming practices by implementing restrictions to commercial and recreational fishing throughout the US, setting fishing limits for every species of fish it oversees.

As informed consumers, we can also help turn the tide of those bad practices.

Like many pescatarians, I always carry the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pocket guide with me when I am shopping for fish or dining out. Here are just four of my favorites from their recommendations for fish that are caught or farmed sustainably, so they are good for people and for our planet.

1. Sockeye Salmon: I have loved sockeye salmon ever since my son went salmon fishing in Alaska, and came back with many pounds of this delicious treat. There are several species of salmon native to the Pacific coast of North America but, as Nourishing The Planet explains, the sockeye salmon, especially in Alaska, is a prime example of the impact that close regulation can have on managing populations in a fishery. The numbers of spawning salmon are tightly monitored as they migrate upstream; their habitats are generally protected; fish are caught in moderate-impact ways, principally gillnets and purse seines; and the catch numbers are restricted by Alaskan regulations. Sockeye salmon from Alaska rank as a very sustainable option.

2. Sardines: The term “sardine” applies to a number of small fish species related to herrings, the best known of which is the Pacific Sardine. Sardines are rich in nutrients, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and calcium. Pacific sardines once supported one of the largest and most profitable fisheries in the US, but by the late 1940s the fish were virtually gone. Although overfishing likely contributed to this, the dramatic decrease was later found to be part of a natural “boom and bust” cycle, which occurs in Pacific sardine populations every 30 to 40 years when a change in water temperature and oceanic conditions favors either sardines or anchovies. Now Pacific sardines have made a comeback, which is good news for those of us who enjoy this tasty treat. However, because of ineffective management and overfishing, we should stay away from Atlantic sardines.

3. Alaska Pollock: Pollock is a member of the cod family, and Alaska pollock (also called walleye) is the largest fishery in the United States. There have been concerns over the past decade, but Alaska pollock populations are generally considered stable. The stocks are strictly controlled by Alaskan catch quotas and by the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea, which was signed by most North Pacific nations. The Bering Sea pollock fishery was recertified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2010, and has been used as an example of how even large-scale fishing can be managed in environmentally sustainable ways. On the other hand, avoid Atlantic cod, from Canada or the US.

4. Tilapia: I love cooking this mild, white fish, but it’s important to know where your tilapia comes from. Make sure that you purchase tilapia that has been farmed in the US, where closed inland systems guard against escapes and pollution. Tilapia farmed in Central and South America is a good alternative, but never buy farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan, where pollution and weak management are widespread problems. Tilapia is an important source of protein and is a good candidate for farming, as it provides more protein than it takes to raise it. This is in contrast to some other fish raised in farms, such as salmon or tuna.

Enjoy your dinner, knowing that you are supporting healthy, abundant oceans!


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Photo Credit: Markus Studer


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Ruth R.
Ruth R6 years ago


Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Very "wee", Kelly, since if you "Google" the word, it is clearly stated in most websites that recognize it, it's a word made up by vegans or vegetarians and somewhat recently. Links have been posted before with the "definition". It certainly is not a word that I'd ever heard of before participating in discussions here in Care.2 that are about veganism or A/R issues, nor one I'd use or agree to using, personally.

BTW, my last comment was months ago. May I ask why you're bringing this stuff up to me now? Not sure what your point was, actually.

Kelly Lowry
Kelly Lowry6 years ago

Diane, just a wee FYI the word sentient is NOT new it has been around quite a long time from as far back as the year 1595–1605; Latin sentient-(stem of sentiēns, present participle of sentīre to feel), equivalent to senti- verb stem -ent- -entask It was not coined by vegetarians either.

The word sentient is quite well known in the science Fiction community ask any Star Trek fans we know it quite well. As for the personal insults WOW I have never seen that side but I usually leave my comment and poof back to Phantom mode LOL I would like to leave a word I have personally coined it "Responsible Carnivore" I think its pretty self explanatory I choose non GMO grain, or grass fed, free range, cage free kosher meats and poultry. I think its best to treat the issue of vegetarians, vegans or carnivores as one treat religion to each his own.

Terry V.
Terry V6 years ago


Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton6 years ago

I will never eat fish again because there are so many lies about what is done and where they come from it makes me sick!!!

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

JulieAnn S.
julie Smith6 years ago

sustainable fishing is NOT happening in Alaska. Think again when you have pollock trawlers fishing from May through September in front of the mouths of rivers where wild salmon spawn you will not have a sustainable fishery. Help us get the pollock trawlers out of Alaska's last run of wild salmon sign & share: http://signon.org/sign/end-salmon-halibut-bycatch

Annie S.
Annie Sousa6 years ago

In the UK, a lot of fishmongers mark their fish to identify country of origin. It is also getting more popular to identify if it is sustainably fished and if is it a sustainable fish. This is not something you see much of in the US. If you ask at the counter of a supermarket where a fish is sourced, most will not know. We need to get more knowledgeable. Write to your local supermarket's manager and ask for identification and country of origin of the products they sell. For all products. If you were shopping for oranges, and there were two kinds available but no identifier to say that one was from Florida and one was from South America. If you knew where it was sourced, most would chose the US product because (a) you trust the US standards; (b) its not been trucked half way across the world and (c) your carbon footprint is much smaller. Its the same with fish. You should be able to know and that you have a choice as to whether to eat a sustainable or unsustainable fish. I know it would make me think twice about eating a fish that had been reared in a polluted Chinese fish farm or that it is a fish that could be on its way to extinction.

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper6 years ago

Not readily available here!