For the full summary of these recommendations, the corresponding Ocean Wise recommendations, and past updates, visit our Sustainable Seafood Updates page. FishChoice also has an Upcoming Sustainable Seafood Assessment page which keeps businesses in the know of what is coming down the line and to make sure businesses (notably industry experts) are aware of the opportunity to provide input on these recommendations. If you are interested in providing input to the Seafood Watch® Program visit their Seafood Watch® Assessment Tool.
Seafood Spotlight: Tilapia
Tilapia are a hardy, aggressive freshwater fish originally native to Africa that reproduce quickly and eat a grain-based vegetarian diet. This fish grows fast and can reach a size for harvesting within eight to 10 months. Tilapia is a white fish with a bland flavor that makes it a good substitute for other white fish, including snapper, grouper, flounder, and rockfish. Tilapia is available year-round fresh and frozen, whole and in fillets, and frozen value-added fillets. According to some buyers, the quality of frozen tilapia fillets can vary so it is recommended to stay with a good brand to ensure consistency. Fillets are available in several graded sizes: 3-5 oz, 5-7 oz, and 7-9 oz, with 5-7 oz being the most common grade.
The nature of the fish makes it taste like the water where it was raised, so the best quality has the cleanest taste. Many frozen fillet producers in Taiwan and China treat the fish with carbon monoxide to give the bloodline a red color; these fillets are frequently marketed as sashimi-quality snapper even though they aren’t and do not have the same quality. To make sure their tilapia crop is male, some farmers use a hormone called methyltestosterone that, although deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has caused some buyers to seek non-treated fish.
Key sustainability sourcing notes for tilapia spp. based on global production from 2016-17 and based on the most recent Seafood Watch assessments and ASC certifications as of October 2019, are as follows:
~5% of global farm-raised tilapia production is certified to the standards of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
ASC-certified tilapia by country comes from Indonesia ~75%, Brazil ~15%, and China ~10%
For the three primary countries with ASC-certified tilapia, the percentage of the ASC-certified tilapia is ~5% for Brazil and Indonesia, and <1% in China
<1% of global farm-raised tilapia meets a Seafood Watch "Best Choice (green)" rating**; ~90% from Ecuador and ~10% from Peru
~25% of global farm-raised tilapia meets a Seafood Watch "Good Alternative (yellow)" rating; ~85% from Indonesia
~50% of global farm-raised tilapia is unrated; ~35% from Egypt, ~10% each from Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Brazil, and Thailand
The U.S.** produces ~0.2% of global tilapia production
Global tilapia production increased ~5% from 2016 to 2017
**Tilapia raised in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) globally receives a Seafood Watch "Best Choice (green)" rating, but estimates of relative production by RAS are not available. Most tilapia produced in the United States is produced using RAS.
Get more details on sourcing, selling, and sustainability with our tilapia guide.
Job Opening - Data Analyst
FishChoice is looking for a qualified candidate with a passion for the environment to join our team! In this position you’ll be working with our team based in Fort Collins, Colorado to fulfill a variety of data analysis needs that will directly contribute to our goal of making sustainable seafood information more accessible. As our Data Analyst, you will take responsibility for the management and analysis of our master data sets, developing reports, maintaining accuracy, and troubleshooting data issues. To excel in this role, you will need a fine eye for detail, experience analyzing fisheries and aquaculture data, and strong problem-solving skills.
Learn more about this position and FishChoice's work by visiting our website.
Kingfish Zeeland - Netherlands
Based in the Dutch province of Zeeland, Kingfish Zeeland taps into the pristine marine estuary water of the Eastern Scheldt, a Natura 2000 nature reserve, to deliver a healthy, antibiotic-free premium delicacy — Dutch yellowtail. Kingfish Zeeland's Dutch yellowtail, which is both ASC and BAP-certified, serves as a high-grade sashimi product, and can also be smoked, grilled, or baked. Sustainability is a key value at Kingfish Zeeland and forms the basis of the company's design, operation, and technology decisions. Kingfish Zeeland puts a great amount of effort and resources into ensuring that its operations are safe and healthy for its customers, stress-free and humane for its fish, and has a minimum impact on the surrounding environment. Read more...
Providence Bay Fish Company - Wakefield, Rhode Island
Founded in 1991, Providence Bay Fish Co. quickly established itself as a leading supplier of high-quality seafood. Not only does the company serve customers in the USA, but it also exports to several regions around the world from Europe to Asia, and has won an award for being a Rhode Island small business exporter. To satisfy customers, the company is always open to supplying new products that complement its current product line. The company carries a variety of seafood products, including scallops, lobster, skate, black cod, California squid, monkfish, and even sea cucumber. Customer satisfaction is the company’s primary goal, and Providence Bay Fish Co. stands behind everything it sells. Read more...
FishChoice, Inc. (FCI) is a registered 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit founded in 2008 that envisions a thriving and sustainable global seafood industry. FishChoice is dedicated to helping businesses advance their seafood sustainability efforts on their own by offering solutions that accelerate sustainability in the global seafood industry. FishChoice currently operates the flagship FishChoice platform (established 2009) and FisheryProgress platform (established 2016).