Swordfish Caught With Harpoons, Deep-Set Buoy Gear Make Aquarium’s ‘Green List’

Image via Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has added West Coast swordfish caught with harpoons and deep-set buy gear to its new “green list” of well managed seafood.

Aquarium officials in Monterey, California, put out the “green list” of recommendations for businesses and consumers based on ways seafood is caught that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife.

The environmental entity Oceana applauded use of the harpoons and deep-set buoy gear over the huge mesh drift gillnets used in recent decades, saying that those mile-long nets deployed at dusk and left to hang 200 feet below the ocean’s surface for up to 12 hours entangle large open ocean travelers like whales, dolphins, sharks and sea turtles, with more than half of what is caught thrown overboard, often dead or dying.

Oceana campaigns to transition the fishery to cleaner fishing gear, such as harpoons and deep-set buoy gear.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean now and for future generations. Seafood Watch color-coded recommendations indicate which seafood items are best choices (green) or good alternatives (yellow), and which ones you should avoid (red).

A wide range of retail, restaurant, and food service providers rely on Seafood Watch to inform seafood purchasing decisions, including some that have committed to not sell red-listed seafood.

Currently, more than 25,000 restaurants, stores, and distributors — including Whole Foods, Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Cheesecake Factory, Compass Group, and ARAMARK — have committed to using Seafood Watch ratings to guide purchasing and menu choices.

“A ‘best choice’ rating for deep-set buoy gear and harpoon caught swordfish is a significant step in supporting these clean California swordfish fisheries that avoid catching whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and a myriad of other marine life that swim in our waters,” Oceana spokesperson Ashley Blacow-Draeger said.

“It is important,” Blacow-Draeger continued, “for businesses and consumers to know that the seafood they are purchasing does not come from a fishery that harms other ocean animals.”