March 10, 2017
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Frozen Farmed Fish
Farmed Frozen Fish
This week saw what is perhaps one of the biggest boosts for the sustainable seafood movement in recent memory with the news that Leonardo DiCaprio invested in seafood company LoveTheWild (who also happens to be a new FishChoice Supplier Member - see below). What made this noteworthy besides the celebrity status behind the investor is that LoveTheWild only sells value-added frozen seafood from sustainable aquaculture sources. 

Both frozen fish and farmed fish have reputational challenges in some seafood circles, but could it be that the combination of the two, frozen farmed fish, is the sustainable seafood option most deserving of attention going forward? With significant advances in both technology and handling techniques that preserve both nutrition and quality, frozen seafood has several positive impacts on sustainability: 
  • Lower carbon footprint of distribution by ground or shipping cargo as opposed to air freight
  • Safer for fishermen who aren't pressured to meet in-season fresh market demand
  • Less spoilage of the raw material, especially by end consumers
  • Increased opportunity to introduce under-utilized species in off-seasons
Farmed seafood makes up more than 50% of global seafood consumption, and when compared to farming other proteins, farmed fish has a much smaller ecological footprint. Within seafood, there are still clearly some species that are better sourced from wild fisheries, but there are a growing number of species that are better sourced from farmed options, barramundi being a great example (which also happens to be one of LoveTheWild's products). With most signs pointing to global fisheries being stuck at a production plateau, without farmed seafood, the FAO estimates a seafood shortage of 50-80 million tons by 2030

Increasing demand for both frozen and farmed fish will help take pressure off of wild fish stocks. To learn more or get a refresher on sustainable aquaculture, please refer to our summaries of the leadinq aquaculture assessment programs: Seafood Watch aquaculture criteria, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Global Aquaculture Alliance, and Food Alliance
Seafood Spotlight: Mahi-Mahi
Seafood Spotlight: Mahi-Mahi
Fresh and frozen mahi-mahi is available year-round, although prices fluctuate dramatically. Fresh mahi-mahi is sold as skin-on fillets as well as H&G, while frozen fish is available as skin-on or skinless boneless fillets. The fish is low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamins B12 and B6, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, and selenium. When buying fresh mahi, for maximum shelf life, buying H&G mahi-mahi is the best product form. Look for bright skin colors and firm, pinkish meat to identify the highest quality of skin-on mahi fillets. Mahi-mahi has a mild sweet taste, making it popular in American restaurants. It is most abundant in January and February when the catches off Ecuador and Peru are at their peak. 

Key sustainability sourcing notes for mahi-mahi (FDA name: dolphinfish) based on combining landings data from 2012-2016 and the most recent 2013 & 2016 Seafood Watch assessments:
  • ~80% of  global landings come from 5 countries (Peru ~50%, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Taiwan all ~10% each)
  • The U.S. only lands ~1% of global mahi-mahi landings, and only about 5% of U.S. landings serve the domestic market (~60% of U.S. landings are from Hawaii)
  • The leading import countries for mahi-mahi into the U.S. are Ecuador, Peru, and Taiwan (~20-25% each)
  • ~10% of U.S. mahi-mahi landings meet the "Best Choice (green)" rating (handline, troll, and pole-caught excluding Hawaii. and ~70% from Florida)
  • ~85% of U.S. mahi-mahi landings (Hawaii and U.S. longline-caught) and ~20% of global landings (Ecuador longline-caught) meeting the "Good Alternative (yellow)" rating  
  • ~70% of global mahi-mahi landings meet the "Avoid (red)" rating (primarily longline-caught) 
  • ~60% of global mahi-mahi landings are in a fishery improvement project (FIP) (Peru & Ecuador)
  • ~5% of U.S. mahi-mahi landings and ~20% of global mahi-mahi landings are unrated/unknown (~80% of U.S. unknown landings come from South Carolina)
Learn more details with our updated mahi-mahi sustainable seafood guide. Learn more about mahi-mahi FIPs on
LoveTheWild - Boulder, Colorado
Committed to creating good food that’s good for both you and the planet, LoveTheWild is on a mission to preserve our waterways through responsible aquaculture. Started in 2014, co-founders Jacqueline Claudia and Christy Brouker recognized the need for convenient, high-quality, delicious seafood from trustworthy facilities. The Boulder-based brand offers sustainably-sourced seafood paired with bold sauces and fool-proof cooking instructions inspired by the classic French culinary technique en papillote. Sourced from the most well-managed facilities in the world, Jacqueline and Christy carefully hand-select the farms from which all LoveTheWild seafood is derived. Using only natural, clean ingredients and pure fillets, entrees may be cooked from frozen in less than 25 minutes and feature bold, artisanal regional recipes that complement the fish’s unique taste, texture, and origin. Read more...
Sustainable Seafood News of the Week
VIMS Coastal Shark Study Shows Species Recovering from Overfishing
(Daily Press, 3/4/2017)

Peruvian Anchovy Fishery Launches Fisheries Improvement Project
(Undercurrent News, 3/9/2017)

Iceland's Fishing Industry is Starting to Stink
(Bloomberg, 3/8/2017)

NRDC Defends Seafood Traceability in Court
(Natural Resources Defense Council, 3/8/2017)

DFO Considers Making Onboard Cameras a Must in N.S., P.E.I. Tuna Fishery
(CBC, 3/9/2017)

Worst Salmon Season in Eight Years Projected in California
(Press Democrat, 3/6/2017)

Louisiana Crab Fishing Ban Sparks Concerns
(Leesville Daily Leader, 3/5/2017)

Crab Fishery Faces Identity Crisis
(Bristol Bay Times, 3/4/2017)

Nothing Fishy About New Solution for Aquaculture Waste-Water Treatment
(ScienceDaily, 3/6/2017)

Why is a Norwegian Disease on a BC Fish Farm Such a Big Deal?
(The Tyee, 3/4/2017)

SFP Completes Major Training Project for Asia Shrimp and Tilapia Farmers
(Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, 3/6/2017)

What's Fish Sex Got to Do with Sustainable Seafood?
(Oceana, 3/8/2017)

FishWise Announces Partnership with Seafood Supplier North Atlantic, Inc. to Work on Supply Chain Sustainabillity and Transparency
(FishWise, 3/6/2017)

Trump Seeks 17 Percent Cut to NOAA budget, Elimination of Sea Grant Program
(SeafoodSource, 3/​

Take OP Wild Steelhead off the Menu
(Wild Steelhead Coalition, 3/8/2017)
FishChoice creates solutions that accelerate sustainability in the global seafood industry. Our vision is a thriving and sustainable global seafood industry. 
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