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Feb 17, 2009 12:29 PM

Why do restaurants still serve Chilean Sea Bass?

I have looked at the websites you fellow hounds have posted, like monterey bay, etc, and it's obvious that Chilean Sea Bass is on the list of do not eat, but I see it all the time on menus. What is up with that? Isn't that totally irresponsible?

Another question is when I see Sea Bass on a menu, and it doesn't specify it's Chilean, then that's okay, correct? I tasted some sea bass a friend ordered and it was very good, but I want to be sure before I order it.

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  1. I don't travel as much any more, but I notice it on menus in Phoenix- LV -Orange County. Simple answer: it tastes good, and has panache.
    It is still offered in high-end restos in C.A. and S.A., and I admit I still eat it. When it is no longer profitable to fish for it, there will be a new but sad equilibrium somewhere between extinction and commercial viability.

    1. Same reasons that markets still sell Chilean Sea Bass.

      Taste + demand = $$$.

      1. Because it's legal and people like it. Why do stores still sell cigarettes?

        1 Reply
        1. re: BobB

          ... or shark's fin for that matter.

        2. Dani, chances are it's not Chilean sea bass unless advertised as such. if it's just listed as bass, it's most likely black or white....but you should always just ask to be sure.

          1. It is irresponsible (although no less so then say Orange Roughy or Atlantic Cod) but bear in mind there is still technically sustainable Patagonian Toothfishing (its proper and less appealing name) allowed in tiny places on the order of about 10,000 tons a year TOTAL. But of course the illegal fishing dwarfs this by many factors and theres a good chance that your restaurant or grocery store get theirs indirectly from this illegal trade. But you never know. Either way its probably a good idea to minimize purchasing it as much as possible. They are talking about a complete loss of species within 2 to 5 years. And even if thats not true the long net trawlers happily drown seabirds in the tens of thousands to scoop these fish from the deep trenches they live in (not to mention the illegal fishers often use dynamite on sperm and killer whales who might compete with them for the fish). Plus they have a reputation for mercury concentration in their flesh as do many large fatty predators. But I do agree they are quite delicious! Too bad our appetites seem to override our care for the sustainability of an entire species.

            I wonder what a kiwi tasted like...

            2 Replies
              1. re: PaulV

                Ha ha! *is an idiot* Perhaps I was thinking Dodo. Although Ive never had Kiwi either (not counting the fruit). And a number of my New Zealand friends would insist that the statement is true to some degree. ;)