The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has moved 21 species of West Coast fish to sustainable status, thanks to the success of a fisheries management program championed by the Environmental Defense Fund.
The seafood watch program, a sustainability program used by millions of Americans and corporate seafood buyers, on Sept. 2 declared nearly 40 species of West Coast rockfish, flounder, sole and other species as either a “best choice” or “good alternative.” The fishery was declared a federal disaster in 2000, and many of these species had long been rated as fish to avoid. The replacement of ineffective fishing regulations with the catch share management program that EDF championed was cited as a primary reason the fishery has turned around.
The catch share program was designed to rebuild and manage stocks to ensure long-term sustainability.
Approximately 70 percent of West Coast flounder and sole, and 60 percent of rockfish got the top rating of “best choice,” which marks a dramatic change from prior ratings. On that list among trawl-caught rockfish are widow, aurora, yellowtail, splitnose and shortspine and longspine thornyheads. Alternative choices include chilipepper rockfish, petrale sole and sablefish. Five species of flatfish improved to a “best choice” from “good alternative,” including Dover sole, English sole, Pacific sanddab, rex sole and starry flounder.