EP 605 | AIRED 09/05/2022
Sep 5th, 2022 - Sushi, (perhaps more than any other seafood category), is perceived with overfishing and activist tout as something we must avoid or “reinvent” to sustain ocean health.
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[Surimi (imitation crab meat)]
Almost 2 point 5 million metric tons of MSC certified walleye pollock hit the global markets every year from Alaska and Russia. This sushi category is very sustainable and does not need to be reinvented.
India, Ecuador, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand are the top 5 exporters of shrimp to the U.S.. Although there are environmental challenges for farmed and wild shrimp sources the sustainability outlook is positive. If you’re willing to pay more, you are often rewarded with a sustainable product.
[Yellowtail Amberjack / Hamachi]
This category is considered unsustainable and scores low on Seafood Watch for chemical use and effluent impacts to habitats. Majority comes as “ranched” fish from Japan. Sustainable alternatives exist however availability and quality are inconsistent.
The albacore tuna sushi category is similar to ahi but with fewer environmental concerns. Albacore caught by US fleets is a safe choice and there are many global sustainably rated and certified sources.
Wild populations of Japanese & European Eel are endangered. Seafood Watch rates American eel farmed in indoor recirculating systems and wild caught in North Carolina as a “Good Alternative” however these sources are not readily available on the market today thus finding sustainable domestic eel offerings can be very challenging.
Octopus is the fastest-growing seafood species category in the U.S.. Most sushi offerings will be common octopus or big blue octopus and when from Spain, Portugal, and Senegal caught by pot or jig, is rated as a Seafood Watch “Good Alternative”.
MSC certified sources for Scallop account for a significant market share and none of the scallop fisheries rated by Seafood Watch received an “Avoid” rating. Wild caught and farmed scallops are highly sustainable.
For additional analysis of each category, please see the report version below this video or in the links below.