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Seafood Watch is a Must-Have App for Eco-Living Foodies

Seafood Watch is a mobile guide based on the Seafood Watch educational service from Monterey Bay Aquarium designed to help you make sustainable seafood choices quickly and easily. Seafood Guide allows you the convenience of access to an enormous amount of information right from your iPhone.

Many of us, in our efforts to live with as minimal an impact on the environment as possible, have taken measures towards living green by incorporating more choices that increase sustainability. Doing so requires making selections that assure we’re not negatively impacting a species into extinction. Further to live healthier we must feel confident that we are not consuming a product that contains high levels of hazardous chemicals such as mercury.

Seafood Watch provides the assurances we need to make a decision on the purchase of seafood at our favorite market, restaurant, or sushi bar. In the past I’ve had cards that I picked up with similar information and carried them with me until they were frayed and unreadable. I’ve also had previous success using similar seafood watch services that utilized texting. I’d text a type of seafood and quickly receive sustainability and health information back via a text message. I found Seafood Watch to be a superior option.

Using Seafood Watch, simply select your region and scroll through a list of seafood. The ability to have so much information of sustainable seafood is remarkable, but the depth of this information is the single most important factor in finding Seafood Watch a more desirable guide than texting a request. With the app, there are immediately hundreds of choices with detailed research right at your fingertips. With the texting option, I would obtain a lot less information and only one text at a time.

When using Seafood Watch you select a seafood and you’ll notice a section along the left column. For instance, I selected Arctic Char (Farmed). Along the left is a shaded green area that states Best Choice. After tapping on Arctic Char, I’m taken to an additional page that has a picture of an Arctic Char on the top and below the picture three sections that help explain the sustainability factor of the specific fish — Rating, Consumer Notes, and Summary.

I learn from the Rating section that farmed-raised Artic Char is rated Best Choice because it’s farmed in an ecological manner. Under Consumer Notes I’m informed that Artic Char is fished both commercially and recreationally, but most sold in the U.S. is farmed. I also learn that when sold as sushi it is called Iwana. Finally, under Summary, I learn what farming procedures are used, and why those methods create only a low risk of pollution. Also explained were the factors taken into account that resulted in the recommendation provided.

The ocean-friendly, food-finder also lists alternatives on their list of “seafood to avoid” so that users can make the sustainable choices when dining out.

An update for Seafood Watch, released in December, added several new features including Project FishMap which lets users contribute to the app by adding the names of restaurants and stores where they have found ocean-friendly seafood. By crowd-sourcing the FishMap, Seafood Watch makes it even easier to find sustainable seafood locally — no matter where you might be at the time.

Seafood Watch is a wonderful app to incorporate into your lifestyle. It’s handy, easier than carrying a bunch of cards around and far more efficient than the texting option. This is one app that I plan on using a lot. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has done an excellent job of making sure that their Seafood Watch research is accessible and convenient to use.