Get hooked on these unsung fish heroes
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
You'll be hooked on these often overlooked seafood options. Sablefish, mackerel, sardines, and Arctic char are nutritious, sustainable choices that taste delicious.
When it isn’t battered and deep-fried, seafood is a healthy choice for a boatload of reasons. Many fish are a great source of protein and must-have nutrients, while being low in saturated fat.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least two servings of seafood weekly, but concerns about environmental toxins and destructive fishing practices surrounding certain species may leave a fishy taste in your mouth.
Well, there is no reason to send all seafood overboard. These often overlooked fish are nutritional dynamos and get high-water marks for sustainability by Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program.
Catch and release
Cut bait on these seafood options for greener catches.
Things have improved, but salmon farming is still rife with problems, including pollution of surrounding waterways, heavy use of wild feed and antibiotics, disease transfer to wild stocks, and escapes, which can impact native species. Sometimes farmed salmon is simply labelled Atlantic salmon (wild Atlantic salmon is not available on the market).
Smart swap: wild salmon, rainbow trout, arctic char
Conditions vary from country to country, but mangrove forest destruction to build shrimp farms and pollution of surrounding waters is a common ailment of the industry. So it’s often best to toss shrimp of unknown origins overboard. There is also concern that the shrimp meat can be contaminated with the chemicals and drugs tossed into dirty, overcrowded pens.
Smart swap: Canadian- and US-sourced shrimp/prawns
Chilean sea bass
These are slow-growing fish that are overfished, sometimes illegally with environmentally destructive methods such as bottom trawling and longlines that can hook birdlife.
Smart swap: sablefish, Pacific halibut
Bluefin tuna (toro as sushi)
A highly prized fish that unfortunately harbours unhealthy levels of mercury and is being caught faster than it can reproduce, causing a population tumble.
Smart swap: pole-and-line caught albacore and yellowfin tuna; also look for canned tuna from smaller companies that pack sustainable, low-contaminant tuna meat