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What are the best types of fish to eat?

August 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Most of us know seafood's a healthy choice, but concerns about mercury and overfishing sometimes influence our decisions. Tuna, wild salmon and shrimp are three popular, healthy seafood choices. Yet ordering similar, lesser known fish can keep the strain off a dwindling supply.

"We want to give tuna a break. I always recommend alternate species like black cod, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi is a good alternative," said Andrew Gruel, manager at Seafood for the Future.

"I would recommend albacore compared to a Ahi because albacore has a nice oil content. Also yellowtail and Mahi are great as well," said Chef Jason Stein of Parker's Lighthouse.

Experts want us to realize there are so many other abundant fish in the sea. While salmon is a fabulous choice, mix it up with colorful Artic Char or flavorful black cod. In lieu of Orange Roughy try again, Artic Char or Baramundi.

On the flip side, once exploited, swordfish and halibut are now being served without guilt due to government guidelines.

And much like produce, eating fish in season helps as well.

"Halibut is advertised, it's March through October," said Stein.

While Copper River salmon runs June. If fish is fresh most places will advertise to be clear.

Seafood consumption in SoCal is twice the national average, so a program has been created called Seafood for the Future. The program was put together by chefs, restaurateurs and fisherman, so consumers can make a good choice.

"Seafood for the Future is the Aquarium of the Pacific's Sustainable Seafood Program," said Gruel. "Our ultimate goal is actually to get people to eat more seafood. Sustainable, it is about supply and demand and making sure the demand doesn't out strip the supply."

There's also surprising news about farmed raised fish.

"Contaminants and PCB's are high in certain amounts of fish," said Gruel. "But they're very highly regulated and monitored now that there's a lot more awareness about it."

Gruel says farming is far more advanced with more open water fish farming.

Farm raised or fresh, when it comes to choosing fish at the market you should remember these tips:

  • Look for a firm flesh texture with a quick spring back
  • You want the fish to have clear eyes
  • Look for red gills
  • If you are buying a lobster tail from the market, ask for a frozen one from their stock

Chef Stein says unless they're advertised as fresh, you have no way of knowing how long they've been sitting there.


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