Tilapia Production Practices Now Get Seafood Watch Approval

New “Good Alternatives” under Monterey Bay Aquarium’s science-based program include U.S.-caught monkfish, American plaice, and some flounder; and tilapia farmed in Taiwan and China.

The 2013 spring update of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch science-based recommendations gives consumers, chefs and businesses new ocean-friendly options, with several species joining the ”Good Alternatives” list, including previously overfished monkfish, some Atlantic flatfishes and farmed tilapia produced in Taiwan and China.In recent years, improved management has seen some East Coast stocks recovering from overfishing. This has resulted in upgrades for several Atlantic Coast species: monkfish, American Plaice and Winter Flounder, all caught by trawl gear; and windowpane flounder from southern stocks.

The semi-annual Seafood Watch consumer update – the most widely referenced and respected seafood buying guide in North America – was released today and published to the aquarium’s website, www.montereybayaquarium.org.

“We’re always pleased when we see fish stocks recover as a result of effective management measures,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of the aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. “That’s good for the oceans, and for everyone who enjoys seafood or makes a living catching and selling it.”

Farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan now also gets the thumbs-up from Seafood Watch, thanks to recent improvements in farm water usage and reductions in discharge of potential environmental pollutants. With farmed tilapia from Ecuador upgraded to a “Best Choice”, tilapia fans can now buy imported tilapia with a high degree of confidence. These three countries produce the majority of tilapia imports into the U.S.
Other spring updates include wild-caught clams, mostly listed on the Northeast regional pocket guide, but also available on the app and website seafoodwatch.org.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium will release a summer update of its Seafood Watch pocket guides in July. The website and app are updated more frequently, as new and updated recommendations are produced by the team’s scientists.

Since the inception of the program in 1999, Seafood Watch has distributed more than 42 million pocket guides. More than one million people have downloaded the award-winning iPhone and Android apps since their debut in January 2009. Using the “Project FishMap” crowd-sourcing feature, users have contributed more than 11,000 reports of sustainable seafood items they found in restaurants and markets, in more than 1,250 U.S. cities.

Seafood Watch is regarded as the most credible source of sustainable seafood information in North America, with 2,500 science-based recommendations available to help thousands of businesses identify environmentally responsible seafood options. The aquarium partners with businesses nationwide to shift their seafood purchases to more sustainable sources, including the two largest food service companies in North America (Compass Group and ARAMARK), major retailers including Whole Foods Market, and scores of restaurants and other businesses buying and selling seafood.

The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.

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