Seafood Watch Upgrades 21 West Coast Species to Sustainable Status

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has moved 21
species of West Coast fish to sustainable status, thanks to the success of a
fisheries management program championed by the Environmental Defense Fund.
The seafood watch program, a sustainability program used by
millions of Americans and corporate seafood buyers, on Sept. 2 declared nearly
40 species of West Coast rockfish, flounder, sole and other species as either a
“best choice” or “good alternative.” The fishery was declared a federal
disaster in 2000, and many of these species had long been rated as fish to
avoid.  The replacement of ineffective
fishing regulations with the catch share management program that EDF championed
was cited as a primary reason the fishery has turned around.
The catch share program was designed to rebuild and manage
stocks to ensure long-term sustainability.

Approximately 70 percent of West Coast flounder and sole,
and 60 percent of rockfish got the top rating of “best choice,” which marks a
dramatic change from prior ratings.  On
that list among trawl-caught rockfish are widow, aurora, yellowtail, splitnose
and shortspine and longspine thornyheads.  Alternative choices include chilipepper rockfish, petrale sole and
sablefish.  Five species of flatfish improved
to a “best choice” from “good alternative,” including Dover sole, English sole,
Pacific sanddab, rex sole and starry flounder.