Posts Tagged ‘fish contamination’

Care about sustainable seafood? Have an iPhone? Well, if so, you can now download a new mobile app that tells you which fish to eat and which to toss back at the touch of your fingers.

Created by our friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, Project FishMap is an interactive, easy to use application that also gives you the low-down on health and environmental issues associated with each fish. In short, it’s like having one of those handy Seafood Watch wallet cards in digital form, plus quite a few cool features to boot.

You can add your favorite sustainable seafood markets and restaurants to a map, which, in turn, gives you up-to-the-minute information on where to catch some eco-friendly sea fare, no matter where you are.

The app is free for downloading. So plug in and download away. Which are some of your favorite seafood markets or restaurants? Care to share any new finds with us? What features could added? We can’t guarantee you’ll get them, but it doesn’t hurt to make your voice heard.

2010 was a remarkable year for the Fish Consumption Education Collaborative, known as FCEC. We saw a large increase in our outreach efforts. We engaged our community at local piers, clubs and community organizations more than in any previous year. We attended numerous events where we spoke directly to community members about fish contamination in the area.

We also saw a few significant changes these past twelve months. Sharon Lin, who led the FCEC program for several years, moved on to other endeavors within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. FCEC benefited from her vision and leadership. Sharon was instrumental in creating the foundation for the work we will continue to expand upon.

In case you were wondering, I’m her replacement. I joined the EPA in 1997, working in the Community Involvement Office. It is my hope that my experience there and my various other roles will aid FCEC in its educational and community outreach. Additionally, I’m familiar with the issues around the Palos Verdes Shelf since I’ve been working on the Shelf’s cleanup plans since 2004.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you! We recently asked you what you thought of our newsletters and blog posts. Thanks to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts.

Here are a few things we learned from the survey. Almost half of the respondents visit our blog monthly. Our newsletter readers also prefer informative videos and posts and like reading about fish consumption information. As a result, you can expect more of what you like! So why not start with our current newsletter that serves up exactly that?

First, check out an interview with Dave Anderson who works with our partner, Seafood For the Future – who talks about the relationship between what we eat and ocean sustainability. We also have a video on what chef and author Barton Seaver dubs “Restorative Seafood” and how to eat with sustainability in mind.

Lastly, we have a short video clip with fish enthusiasts from the Cerritos Rod & Gun Club, where they discuss what they learned about fish contamination at one of their club meetings.

Thanks for reading, and happy holidays!


Carmen White

Our dinner choices matter, according to Dave Anderson, a marine biologist at Seafood for the Future, a program at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Learn how you can make a difference by being conscientious of what fish you order at your favorite restaurant, among other things. Check out a video showing delicious ways of preparing sustainable seafood.

FCEC: So Dave, tell us a little about Seafood for the Future. What is it exactly? What’s the organization’s mission?

Dave Anderson: Seafood for the Future is a non-profit program of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. We promote sustainable seafood practices among restaurants, wholesalers and distributors. Our goal is to connect the public with healthy, sustainable seafood options. The seafood we choose, if sold at a local restaurant, is marked with our logo of approval so that better choices can be more easily recognized. When a consumer chooses this item, not only will they be ordering the best eco-friendly seafood, they’ll also receive a free ticket to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

FCEC: How many restaurants are you currently working with?

Dave Anderson: Currently we work with 75 restaurants and 12 distributors from Santa Barbara all the way down to San Diego. But those numbers are ever-growing.

FCEC: Why should people care about whether or not they are eating “sustainable” fish?

Dave Anderson: In terms of environmental sustainability, eating the fish we pick helps to better manage our natural resources, which in some cases are in rapid decline. In addition to this, fish resources that are properly managed are often healthier for people to eat. So when we engage chefs directly we are helping to improve their practices: from purchases to preparation, and ultimately the quality of their menus improves.

From right to left, Andrew Gruel and Dave Anderson.

FCEC: How can one’s individual food choices make a positive impact?

Dave Anderson: One’s food choices, especially in the case of seafood, can have an immediate and direct impact, not only for sustainability, but for the entire market place. When sustainable seafood is in high demand, chefs are more likely to make sure to carry such products.

About 80% of our seafood is imported, much of this seafood comes from areas in the world that do not have the same environmental safeguards as the United States. So if their production and harvesting practices are harmful, we aren’t likely to know about it. But when we eat sustainable seafood we ensure that the fishing practices meet our requirements.
FCEC: What are some of the fish that people should look to purchase?

Dave Anderson: Seafood from Alaska, wild Pacific salmon is an easy one to remember. Their stocks are quite healthy up there. Some other easy ones are sardines and mackerel – both of which reproduce fast, making them more environmentally sustainable.

FCEC: What are a few things that are having the greatest impact on threatened fish populations?

Dave Anderson: Two things: fishing pressure and habitat decline. The latter happens with overdevelopment and immediate pressures on the eco-system, such as oil spills.

FCEC: How can people further educate themselves about these issues?

Dave Anderson: First and foremost, people need to pay attention to what it is they are eating. Awareness on every level will help. Once people are aware of where their food comes from, what it is exactly, then they are more likely to make better, healthier food choices. This is where Seafood for the Future and FCEC overlap and seek to achieve the same goal: helping people make better, healthier fish consumption choices.

We talk about fishing and fish contamination here at FCEC quite a bit. We address complex issues, environmental impacts and sustainability. But at the heart of all of this is health, human health to be exact.

When our environment is healthy, we are also more likely to be healthy. That’s why we work hard to educate the public about best practices when it comes to the types of fish people consume.

This weekend join in FCEC’s efforts by supporting our partners at Herald Christian Health Center in San Gabriel between 9 and 11:30 am, where the Center will be hosting a community health fair.

Be on the lookout for FCEC materials which will educate attendees about the risks of consuming contaminated fish. It’s sure to be a healthy and fun event – and we promise you’ll be leaving with plenty of cool (and educational) items to take home with you!

For more information, please visit the FCEC monthly calendar.

*Photo courtesy of

You are what you eat. But what if by eating what you eat, you were destroying ecosystems’ ability to replenish the very thing you enjoy most – fish?

One visionary chef and author based in Washington D.C. looks to “restorative seafood” and vegetables to help save our oceans.

On Sunday, October 17th, FCEC participated in the Cabrillo Autumn Sea Fair in San Pedro, where over 200 local residents were in attendance. Event attendees stopped by our FCEC booth and had a lot to say about fish contamination.

Recently, BPSOS, a partner of FCEC, attended the 6th Annual Southeast Asian at the Aquarium of the Pacific, held on Saturday, October 9. BPSOS is a Vietnamese organization that works to empower the community and is committed to distributing FCEC educational materials at events they attend.

The festival highlighted the beauty and diversity of Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Laotian, and Indonesian cultures.

There was live music, dance performances, food, crafts and of course educational booths where our partner, BPSOS, handed out FCEC information. BPSOS reached out to dozens of local residents about fish contamination and had a wonderful time. Enjoy the photos!

Were you at the event?

If so, what did you think of the event? Did you come across any FCEC materials while you were there?


We often talk about good practices here on the FCEC blog like what fish to avoid due to local contamination and how to properly prepare the fish you do catch and take home to eat. However, we

Do you like to grill up some salmon? Make a tuna sandwich? How about a few oysters and calamari?

Well, before you fix a plate of your favorite sea fare you may want to check out this article from Green Right Now on Food & Water Watch