Seafood specials at the supermarket? Keep sustainability in mind

At this time of year, a lot of supermarkets are offering special prices on fish, hoping to appeal to customers who observe Lenten traditions. Even nonbelievers might want to add more seafood to their diets, but all shoppers should questioning whether their seafood comes from healthy and sustainable sources, according to Hillary Bisnett, director of the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program.


Reporters for National Public Radio have recently been looking into various claims and concerns about the sources of seafood.  

“They found that consumers often fall victim to ‘greenwashing,’ being led to believe they are saving the environment by making certain food purchasing choices,” Bisnett said.

Some people recommend looking for labels from the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies that seafood products that have been raised and harvested in ways that won’t deplete the natural supply, do no harm to other marine life and other qualities.

“But others find it troubling that some seafood certified by the MSC as sustainable might actually be harvested despite low numbers,” she said.

Shoppers also might be concerned by the recent action of the Food and Drug Administration to move closer to approving genetically engineered salmon. “The AquaBounty AquAdvantage transgenic salmon would be the first GE food approved for human consumption,” Bisnett said. “But we are still concerned about the potential health effects of genetically engineered foods, and many fear that the introduction of this fish would harm native salmon populations.”

If you are interested in cooking seafood at home, it pays to buy from a store that you trust to supply sustainably grown fish. And if you can find a fishmonger you trust, you might want to try out this terrific roasted salmon recipe from Eating Well magazine.

Salmon Roasted with Tomatoes and Olives
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4
•    2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, stem ends trimmed, cut into thin wedges (or grab a can of organic tomatoes)
•    1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
•    2 strips orange zest, cut into thin slivers
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
•    1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
•    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
•    1/4 teaspoon salt
•    Freshly ground pepper, to taste
•    1 1/4 pounds salmon fillet, (about 1 1/2 inches thick), skin removed (see Tip), cut into 4 portions

1.    Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine tomatoes, onion, orange zest and garlic in a large roasting pan or on a large baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
2.    Roast, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes and onion are tender and beginning to brown on the edges, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 450°.
3.    Add olives and rosemary to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Clear four spaces in the pan and place a salmon piece in each. Spoon some of the tomato mixture on top.
4.    Roast until the salmon is opaque in the center, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.        


EcoLink — February 2013 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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