Taking the guesswork out of sustainable seafood

Eating sustainably and buying local, organic, free trade, cage free, hormone free, humanely slaughtered, non-GMO foods gets a bit daunting at times, even in the uber-politically correct Bay Area. That said, I do my best to pay attention to the foods I buy, and I go out of my way and spend a bit of extra money, to make sure I'm getting foods that I can feel good about eating.

When it comes to buying fish and seafood, however, I have always found it a bit more difficult to navigate my way around. A number of years ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium started their Seafood Watch program, a listing of countless varieties of seafood and recommendations regarding which types are the best to eat and which are best to avoid. Wild seafood populations have been on a fairly rapid decline in recent decades due to overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution, and while farm raising fish offers a potentially viable alternative, loose regulations and inconsistencies in practices, have shown that many fish farms are not only wreaking havoc on the environment, but also present a potential health hazard for those who consume these fish. A recent, extensive article in San Francisco Magazine, tackled many of the pressing questions and concerns regarding sustainable seafood, and really helped to break the topic wide open, showing just how relevant it really is.

Other than the Seafood Watch program, and Whole Foods’ efforts in recent years to be more conscientious and transparent about where their seafood is coming from, there have not been a whole lot of resources for purchasing sustainable seafood, but that is finally starting to change. A new seafood retailer and wholesaler located on the bay in San Francisco, I Love Blue Sea, has partnered with Seafood Watch in an effort to guarantee the quality and origin of the fish that they sell. Started by an avid surfer and fisherman, I Love Blue Sea's primary objective is to sell only sustainable seafood that comes from healthy populations and that is caught in a way that is not harmful to the environment. They ship to just about anywhere in the country and offer only seafood that they can trace directly to its source. This is often easier said than done, though, and because they are so particular about what they buy and sell, their selection sometimes varies. With over 100 varieties of seafood to choose from, however, it's a safe bet that they offer something for everyone.

I personally love the sense of comfort and confidence I get when buying from I Love Blue Sea, particularly with regard to the fact that their research is so thorough and their standards so high. Even more, I really appreciate that the quality of their products is never short of impeccable. A few weeks ago I prepared an incredible sushi dinner which included sea scallops, arctic char, yellowfin tuna and mackerel, and I was blown away by how fantastic all of the fish was. Being a local, I was able to place my order online and go down to the dock to pick up the seafood from them directly. It was a great treat to meet some of their staff in person and to see their operation in action.

Each time I peruse the I Love Blue Sea website, my creative mind starts to go wild as I imagine all of the fun I could have. I am anxiously anticipating my next purchase from them and looking forward to sampling more of their incredible fare.