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Oct 23, 2008 11:56 AM

New Sustainable Sushi Guide from Monterey Bay Aquarium California

The best choices

Aji/Sawara/Mackerel, Spanish
Amaebi/Spot Prawn (British Columbia
)Awabi/Abalone (U.S. farmed)
Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska & British Columbia)
Hirame/Halibut, Pacific
Hotate/Scallops, Bay (farmed)
Ikura/Salmon Roe (Alaska wild-caught)
Iwana/Arctic Char (farmed)
Iwashi/Sardine (U.S. Pacific)
Izumidai/Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
Kaki/Oysters (farmed)
Kanikama/Surimi/Imitation crab (Alaska)
Katsuo/Bonito/Tuna, Skipjack (troll/pole)
Masago/Smelt roe/Capelin (Iceland)
Mirugai/Giant Clam/Geoduck (wild-caught)
Murugai/Mussels (farmed)
Sake/Salmon (Alaska wild-caught)
Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (British Columbia, U.S. troll/pole)
Suzuki/Striped Bass (farmed)
Suzuki/Striped Bass (wild-caught)
Uni/Sea Urchin (Canada)

Good alternatives

Amaebi/Spot Prawn (U.S.)
Ebi/Shrimp (U.S. wild-caught)
Ebi/Shrimp (U.S. farmed)
Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (California, Oregon, Washington)
Hamachi/Yellowtail (U.S. farmed)
Hirame/Flounder, Soles (Pacific)
Hotate/Scallops, Sea (Atlantic, U.S. & Canada)
Kani/Crab, Blue
Kani/Crab, King (U.S.)
Kani/Crab, Snow
Kanikama/Surimi/Imitation Crab (Worldwide except Alaska)
Katsuo/Bonito/Tuna, Skipjack (Hawaii longline)
Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Bigeye (troll/pole)
Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Yellowfin (troll/pole)
Masago/Smelt roe/Capelin (Canada)
Sake/Salmon (Washington wild-caught)
Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (Hawaii longline)
Tai/Red Porgy (U.S.)
Uni/Sea Urchin (California)


Ankimo/Monkfish liver
Ebi/Shrimp (Imported farmed)
Ebi/Shrimp (Imported wild-caught)
Hamachi/Yellowtail (Australia farmed)
Hamachi/Yellowtail (Japan farmed)
Hirame/Flounder, Soles (Atlantic)
Hirame/Halibut, Atlantic
Hon Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Bluefin
Ikura/Salmon Roe (farmed)
Kani/Crab, King (Imported)
Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Bigeye (Worldwide except U.S. Atlantic longline)
Maguro/Toro/Tuna, Yellowfin (longline)
Sake/Salmon (farmed)
Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (Worldwide except Hawaii longline)
Tai/Snapper, Red (U.S. Gulf of Mexico)
Tai/Snapper, Red (Imported)
Tako/Octopus (sushi)
Unagi/Eel, Freshwater
Uni/Sea Urchin (Maine)

Go to the link and click on each one, there are more detailed levels/reports/studies.

Avoiding Japan farmed hamachi is strange to me at least for taste and texture.
And I would be hard pressed to find a Japanese sushi chef tell me that US farmed hamachi is superior to Japanese hamachi.

At a glance it seems that farmed fish gets a real bad rap. Not all farmed fish are bad...

DIscuss (or "conversate")

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  1. The list is talking about the sustainability of the fish species and stocks in question, not the quality of the seafood itself. The list is for people who wish to serve fish products that have the least negative environmental impact.

    The seafood listed on the avoid list refers to the endangered or overfished nature of the fish or the environmentally dangerous fish farming practices to raise the fish.

    By and large, a lot of fish farming projects can have severe negative impacts to the environment, though there are some that are better (for a variety of reasons). A person more experienced in the matter should be able to explain it better than I can.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Blueicus

      I agree, but at least around here I'd be hard-pressed to get a straight answer if I asked the sushi chef where my sushi came from.

      1. re: EWSflash

        You'd be hard-pressed to get a straight answer about the place of origin of fish at your local fishmonger, too. Not that they want to be dishonest, but simply because they often have no idea. They are also often sold a bill of goods from their suppliers, who "mistake" the fish they're supplying for a higher quality/more sustainable species.

        1. re: Tatai

          One thing to keep in mind is that even if the restaurant or retailer doesn’t know where their fish come from, by asking you are making it clear that this is important to you and it might prompt them to look more closely at their sourcing.

          Humberto Kam
          Monterey Bay Aquarium

    2. As regards farmed - 7 farmed types in the "best choices" category, 2 in the "good" category and 3 in the "avoid category" (I'm not counting Ame in the "avoid" category because it specifies "Imported, farmed or wild" rather than being concerned with "farmed."

      Of those in the "avoid" category, 2 are salmon and/or salmon eggs. So, the only avoid farmed fish end up being salmon and Australian or Japanese farmed yellowtail.

      So, I think farmed fish does fairly well overall.

      I'm curious to see whether the places I go will be able to tell me the origin of their seafood. Thanks very much for posting this.

      1. Restaurants are completely at liberty to lie about the source of their seafood. Unless they somehow show you their invoices, it's nearly impossible to verify. If you stick with one of the larger fishmongers in L.A. such as Santa Monica Seafood or IMP, they will be able to tell you every last detail about every piece of seafood that goes through their processing. Currently, I don't feel that there's any seafood restaurant except Providence that is what I consider "legit". Unfortunately, I'm not always in the mood (or financially blessed) to desire to eat at Providence more than once or twice a year.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fooddude37

          At the sushi restaurant we frequent (Sacramento) the owner/chef DID show us the invoices! We knew where the fish came from..and when it arrived.