Seafood Watch is one of the best known sustainable seafood advisory lists, and has influenced similar programs around the world. It is a program designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources. It is best known for publishing consumer guides for responsible seafood purchasing in the United States, including making them available on mobile devices, such as the iPhone and Android.
Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It has roots in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Fishing for Solutions exhibit which ran from 1997 to 1999 and produced a list of sustainable seafood. It was one of the first resources for sustainable seafood information together with the Audubon Society's What is a fish lover to eat? which also came out in the late 1990s.
There is currently a seafood watch app for the iPhone and the Android. One of its features allows people to find restaurants and stores near them that serve ocean-friendly seafood.
The organization's recommendations focus on the North American market, suggesting what seafood is a green "Best Choice," yellow "Good Alternative," or a red "Avoid." The "Avoid" category is for seafood which is overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. Health alerts for fish with high levels of contaminants (e.g. mercury, dioxins, PCBs) are also noted, although they may appear in any category.
The Seafood Watch website includes both regional and country-wide guides for the United States. Pocket guides are available from the aquarium and further information is on the web site. Several of the regional guides are also available in Spanish. The guides are updated twice annually, while the website is updated more often. Recommended seafood includes Sardines, US-farmed Sturgeon (but not wild caught), Atlantic Croaker, Pacific Halibut, Wreckfish, White Seabass and Dungeness Crab. Restaurants and retailers are also targeted with an educational program developed by Seafood Watch.
In 2010 Seafood Watch added its “Super Green” list, which features seafood that it is good for human health and does not harm the oceans. The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch "Best Choices" (green) list, are low in environmental contaminants and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Industry organizations have pushed back against Seafood Watch's efforts. After publication of a sustainable sushi guide, the National Fisheries Institute, a seafood industry trade group, wrote on its blog that the guides were "confusing and contradictory," adding that they didn't fully take into account the economic, environmental and social aspects of seafood sustainability.
- Conservation status
- Sustainable seafood advisory lists and certification
- Seafood Choices Alliance
- Mercury in fish
- Official website
- Seafood Watch Recommendations
- Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide
- Online Seafood Retailer following Seafood Watch Recommendations