"I had the halibut, and the fish was of excellent, fresh flavor and texture. Topping it off with the Chermoula marinade took it from excellent fish to a dish I could have had in a fine restaurant. Thanks for a great product, and thanks for basing it on sound ecological principles."

Tony R.

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EcoFish Selection Criteria

At EcoFish, we are dedicated to offering only the most sustainable sources of seafood. To guide us in this mission, we have assembled a Seafood Advisory Board comprised of some of the world's leading marine conservation scientists who help us research and recommend which species and fisheries to feature. The Board uses a diverse array of existing guidelines at their organizations as reference when assessing a fishery. Research scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program, Environmental Defense, Blue Ocean Institute and New England Aquarium recommend these fisheries to EcoFish.

EcoFish's ability to source from specific fisheries enables us to pinpoint the world's best examples of sustainability (please see Approved Species to read species-specific reports on why a particular fishery was chosen by our Seafood Advisory Board). Following are some of the major environmental issues that our Advisors consider when evaluating wild fisheries and aquaculture:

Wild Fisheries: When well-managed, fisheries have the potential to contribute to the economic and cultural well-being of many communities. Unfortunately, many fish stocks have been overharvested or caught in a manner that kills other animals and degrades the ocean. For EcoFish's approval, wild-caught fish must be landed in a manner that does not compromise the marine environment or unduly harm other species. Similarly, populations of the targeted species need to be able to support themselves and the fishery well into the future.

  • Biological Characteristics of Seafood: Some fish are extremely long-lived or late to mature. EcoFish carefully selects species that are likely to be resilient to fishing pressure.

  • Population Status: The fished species must have a healthy biomass in order to sustain itself and the fishery well into the future.

  • Management of Fishery: There must be a management plan in place that our Advisors are confident will sustain the fishery. Similarly, a species must be abundant and prolific enough to sustain moderate fishing pressure from selective gear.

  • Bycatch: There can be little or no bycatch in the fishery, and no endangered species can be part of the bycatch

  • Impact Harvesting Method has on Surrounding Environment: Fishing gear used to harvest the species cannot destroy marine habitats.

Aquaculture: Aquaculture will continue to play an important and growing role in feeding the world. Given that aquaculture can have positive or negative effects on the environment, EcoFish supports aquaculture that is environmentally and socially responsible. For EcoFish's approval, aquaculture operations need to be integrated into the natural ecosystem, diverse on local and regional scales, and beneficial to local communities.

  • Escapes: Farmed fish that escape into the surrounding marine environment have the potential to severely affect the aquatic environment. Our advisors consider factors such as whether the species is native or exotic to the area it is farmed and the likelihood of the fish escaping the farm.

  • Habitat Issues: How does the farm fit in with the surrounding environment? Where does the water used to raise the seafood come from? Does the farm have natural predators, and how is this issue handled? Is spreading disease a concern? Farms should help to protect and enhance the surrounding environment.

  • Dependence on Wild Fisheries: We prefer farmed fish that don't require diets that include fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fish. If they do require fishmeal, the protein conversion ratios should be below 1:1.

  • Pollution and Chemical Use: There can be absolutely no chemicals or additives utilized whatsoever in the growth or processing; all EcoFish products are all natural. The farm must not be a significant source of pollution for the surrounding environment.

  • Local Community: Does the farm benefit the local community?

When considering these issues, our underlying philosophy employs the Precautionary Principle. We choose to err on the side of conservation and only feature the most sustainable fisheries. This Principle was adopted by the UN Conference on the Environment and Development in 1992 and states that:

"In order to protect the environment, a precautionary approach should be widely applied, meaning that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to the environment, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

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