Trying to eat sustainable seafood is hard!
November 10, 2019
The trip to Food4Less to maximize $8 for the San Diego Food Bank https://drplasticpicker.com/how-8-cash-found-on-the-beach-became-80-meals-and-a-daughter-mother-outing/reminded me that trying to eat seafood sustainably is hard! I love a bargain and had been shopping at Food4Less for years. But about 5 years ago, we stopped going. I had forgotten why we stopped? This week’s trip was the first time in years and it jogged my memory.
We stopped going to Food4Less five years ago because I read something about the seafood they sell is acquired with fishing nets that tended to have more bycatch including turtles. This was before I became drplasticpicker, but even then turtles were our family’s spirit animal https://drplasticpicker.com/the-sea-turtle-is-our-spirit-animal-at-drplasticpicker-com/. But was this still true? I would love to return to shopping there occassionally. Food4Less is such a bargain and convenient to one of our commutes.
Food4Less’s parent company is Kroger. Greenpeace published in 2018 , Supermarket Seafood Ranking https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/2018-supermarket-seafood-ranking/ They took into account 16 different measures including bycatch (marine life unintentionally killed during fishing) and fisheries management. I was surprised to see that Kroger was ranked #11 , better than Costco and #13 Walmart and #14 Trader Joes. For the supermarkets most conveinent for us, there were better options which include #3 Aldis, #4 Target and #8 Sprouts. It was interesting that the more branded-hippie and organic stores like Trader Joes and Sprouts performs lower than Aldis and Target in it’s sustainability regarding seafood. I can definitely adjust to buying more of my groceries especially fish from Aldis. There is one close to clinic.
Another dilemma is picking which seafood to eat. Seafood Watch is a great organization that puts out information on which seafood is sustainable https://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/consumer-guides. They even have an app. But in all seriousness, even for drplasticpicker who is pretty commited to the environment, am I really going to be at the grocery market aisle or at a restaurant using the seafood app and seeing if its sustainable or not? I am going to be too busy trying to find my reusable bamboo utensils!
In all seriousness, the above list is for California from Seafoodwatch.org. Like everything, I think it’s better to figure out what I should eat rather what to avoid. Better to stay positive! So essentially we should eat Tilapia from the US, Sole from the US, US farmed Shrimp, US farmed Scallops and Pacific Cod. I can work with that list. But any seafood is probably better than beef in regards to climate change. And in the end, I should just eat more beans and lentils or go vegan. But drplasticpicker loves seafood. I tried the vegan thing and it didn’t work out!
Next up! I commit to writing 5 supermarkets . Four (probably Costco, Walmart, Trader Joes, Sprouts ) to advocate for more sustainably caught seafood and will write to one (Aldis) to thank them for their committment to sustainable seafood. Stay tuned!
Update! Mr. Plasticpicker and Dr. Plastic Picker went grocery shopping for the first time since this post. Indeed it was difficult finding the BEST CHOICES for seafood at our local Vons. Mr. Plastipicker did not want to go to Ralphs because the parking lot is not as nice. Only one of the frozen shrimps was from the US. It was under the OPEN NATURE brand and more expensive than the other ones. But we did commit and bought that one. The rest of the fish section was not under the the list. So we got ground turkey that is in minimum packaging instead and I picked up loose cayote to try a new vegetable!