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.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
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            • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
            • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
            • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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