Posted on December 27, 2013 by


Dear Dave,

 My family tradition is to have a seafood for New Years dinner but our children have been getting noisy about its ‘sustainability’  and suggesting turkey instead.  Is there a way to make informed choices at the seafood counter so that we can have a guilt-free dinner?



Hello Sue,

EXCELLENT question!  This is a topic getting more attention lately and I am glad that your children got noisy about it.  I will answer this in two parts as you will find two ‘types’ of seafood in your supermarket:  Wild caught vs. Farm raised.


Wild fish are ‘organic.’  They are not fed antibiotics, food coloring, or animal byproducts.    The only downside is that they are almost gone!

The very difficult truth is that wild seafood stocks that enabled this continent to be settled are all but gone. Yes there are still fish in the sea – but due largely to modern industrial fishing practices that use massive ships to catch, process, and freeze their harvest the ocean has been brutally over-harvested.


The bulk of seafood products found in most supermarkets are now farm-raised.  Species like salmon, trout, shrimp, catfish, and tilapia are reared in massive quantities using a wide range of questionable practices.  These animals are typically fed antibiotics, they are fed pellets made from other animals and/or grains (vegetable protein from soy), and in the case of salmon they are artificially colored to resemble their wild distant cousins.

How to choose?  My personal opinion is that farm raised fish is not yet ‘ready’ for human consumption.  Any animal that needs to be fed chemicals to make it onto the table wont find its way onto my plate.  I always choose wild-caught fish but I pay attention to the source, harvest practice, and the overall health of the species.

For species-specific advice and tips on how to become an educated seafood shopper visit this site:

And yes, they have an app for that.

Sardines for dinner?!?              Dave.


Chilean Purse Seine

Posted in: Ask Dave