Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seafood Chart




Years ago I can remember being in a magazine and Lotto place on Second Avenue, adjacent to the Second Avenue Deli, when it was still there (it's now a Chase Bank). Neil and I went through a many year phase where we ate at the Deli nearly weekly and sometimes Neil would want to do take out so I'd go next store and look at magazines while I waited. It was there I discovered Earth Island Journal and was immediately attracted to if for it's blunt, thorough tackling of issues pertaining to our environment. We have been subscribers and supporters of their work ever since. I encourage you to check them out.

This is a total digression from what I had been looking for, which is a Seafood Chart. I thought they'd have it, but they didn't so I went over to another favorite site: Oceana.org Check out the freaky fish competition. But it turns out that they don't have a Seafood Chart either.

Third try was lucky: Environmental Defense has a great Seafood Chart .

After looking at their chart I have to apologize for making a generalization in my Bacaro article. I said that cod was an endangered species, and then I see on the Seafood Chart that:
"line caught Pacific cod" is on the good list.

This got my back up, so I had to go searching and get to the bottom of why I had seen cod on a list of no-no's and yet here the very respectable Environmental Defense people are saying it's a good choice.

First, before I go any further I have to confess I was born and grew up in Canada. The Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland used to be alive with Cod, there are wild historical tales of the gross abundance of them, fish swarming thick in the water around the incoming boats.

Well, lets just say the situation has changed. After just a few clicks I found, as part of that same chart, the lowdown.

Details About Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod

a.k.a. Gadus morhua, rock cod, codling, scrod cod

Health Details

This is an Eco-Worst choice. If you decide to eat it, we recommend the following due to contaminant levels:

  • Adults and children could eat 4 or more meals per month without risking exposure (that doesn't make sense, 4 or more? What? Maybe they mean no more than 4? )

Eco Details

  • Heavily fished for the last 50 years, U.S. and Canadian cod stocks remain extremely depleted, and European populations have declined as well.
  • Poor management and unreported catches threaten Atlantic cod's recovery (emphasis added).
  • Atlantic cod are caught with bottom trawls, which damage bottom habitat and result in considerable by catch of other ground fish species (such as halibut and flounder).
  • Look for cod that has been caught by hook-and-line.
OK so I don't feel to stupid. My question now is can you actually get line caught Pacific cod in NYC? Where do we get our cod? How much is line caught Pacific cod?

Sometimes don't you wish you were ignorant of all this information? It's all so much! Sometimes you want to just give in and forget the whole thing, don't you? I do. Who can remember all this stuff? It's why I think in my head it was easier to just eliminate cod then remember "Oh no, I can eat cod, but only if it is line caught Pacific cod." Jeez.

Well we do what we can and I do believe that every little bit helps.

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