Sustainable Sushi


global-fishing-watch-satelliteIf you do not interfere with the busy season in the fields, then there will be more grain than people can eat; if you do not allow nets with too fine a mesh to be used in large ponds, then there will be more fish and turtles than one can eat.” – Mencius (372-289 B.C.), a leading disciple of Confucius

While the ocean occupies more space on Earth than the continents, its bounty is not endless. Modern fishing methods have led to the over fishing of a number of marine species and many of these are favorites of sushi diners. Sustainable Sushi is the term, and even now a movement, for the responsible harvest of seafood for our sushi feasting pleasure. Through careful management of fishing, aquaculture (e.g. fish farming), and speaking with our wallets, diners are being asked to make choices to ensure the survival of a number of species that are on the brink of extinction due to the voracious appetites and destructive fishing methods that humans now employ. Pocket guides are popping up, and consumers are now being made more aware which species are ones that are safer to eat, and which to avoid (if they ever want to see that kind of fish again). The following table is a summary of the most commonly found seafood and its status on the safe to eat/avoid list. It has been culled from a few sources, and is presented in what is hopefully an easy to understand format. Find the status of your favorite fish or sushi item and even if it is on the “avoid” list, there may be a safe alternative so you don’t have to miss out. We even have available a sustainable sushi pocket guide (courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium) to download and take with you when you go out. Please eat responsibly and scroll down for the seafood list.

Legend

RatingDescription
Best ChoiceThese fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.
Good AlternativeThese are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed - or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts.
AvoidAvoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment.

Sushi Items

food itemsushi/market nameslocationfishing methodrating

For informational purposes we have included lists for both sushi only items as well as all kinds of seafood available in any type of restaurant.

AbaloneRed Abalone, Green Abalone, Pink Abalone, AwabiU.S.Farmed Best Choice

Abalone farming is a highly regulated, well-managed industry. Abalone has long been a delicacy around the world. You'll find several species of these large sea-snails living in the wild along the Pacific coast of North America, as well as Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand. Depletion of wild populations has encouraged the farming of abalone in many countries to meet the demand for this luxury seafood. In California, the commercial abalone fishery was closed in 1997, but sport fishing is still allowed north of San Francisco. Although wild abalone populations remain in a state of recovery, abalone farming sustains continuing public consumption of this ocean delicacy. Farm-raised abalone are harvested when their shells are no more than four inches long, so any abalone bigger than that was probably poached or sold illegally by a sport diver.

Albacore TunaTombo, Albacora, Canned White Tuna, Longfin Tunny, Shiro MaguroBritish Columbia, U.S.Troll or Pole Best Choice

Albacore Tuna is fished around the world using several fishing methods. Some locations and methods are more sustainable than others.

  • Best Choice Hawaii - Troll, Pole, or Handline
  • Good Alternative Hawaii - Longline
  • Avoid Worldwide except Hawaii - Longline

American/Maine LobsterAmerican Lobster, Maine LobsterNortheast U.S.& CanadaTrap-caught Good Alternative
Arctic CharArctic Char, Alpine Char, IwanaU.S.,Canada, Norway, IcelandFarmed Best Choice

Farmed Arctic char is a best choice because it's farmed in an ecologically responsible manner. Although Arctic char is fished both commercially and by recreational fishermen, most Arctic char sold in the U.S. is farmed. Arctic char is sold as whole dressed fish or steak, and smoked or canned. It is known as iwana when prepared for sushi. Most Arctic char is farmed in land-based, closed systems and so there is a low risk of pollution and habitat effects. Closed systems, particularly recirculating systems, treat their wastewater. There is only a minor risk associated with escapes of farmed Artic char to the wild and in some operations only sterile fish are raised and would therefore not be able to breed with wild Arctic char if they did escape.

Atlantic CodScrod, WhitefishU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid

Avoid Atlantic cod from North America; it has been fished heavily for the past 50 years, resulting in massive population declines. Scientists agree that we are now fishing the last 10% of this population. Despite strict management in the U.S. and Canada, cod populations remain overfished. Canadian populations are so low, that some are listed as endangered or threatened. Most cod populations in the Northeast Atlantic are in extremely poor condition, with the exception of Icelandic and Barents Sea cod, which are a good alternative, when caught without trawl gear. Cod from these fisheries also have relatively better population levels. Atlantic cod are groundfish, living along the seafloor at depths up to 1,312 feet (400 meters) on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Fishermen often catch cod with bottom trawl gear, which involves dragging large nets across the seafloor. Trawling damages marine habitats and accidentally catches other marine life, that is then discarded as unwanted catch.

Atlantic CroakerCrocus, Hardhead, GrumblerU.S. AtlanticWild Best Choice

Atlantic croaker is a best choice for healthy oceans. Atlantic croaker has a variety of common names including croaker, crocus, hardhead, King Billy, corvina, roncadina, corbina and grumbler. The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for Atlantic croaker due to high levels of PCBs. Atlantic croaker have an abundant population. They are relatively fast-growing and reach maturity in two to three years making them resilient to fishing pressure. Atlantic croaker is an important commercial and recreational fish along the coast. Nearly two-thirds of the commercially available fish are caught using gillnets, haul seines and pound nets. These croaker fisheries have minimal impact on the habitat and ecosystem and are considered a best choice. Croaker are also caught by trawling. Trawling for croaker occurs primarily on the sandy seafloor, which is considered more resilient to trawling impacts than rocky habitats in deeper water, but it's not without problems. We consider the effects of trawling on habitats and ecosystems in the croaker fishery as being of moderate conservation concern and rank it as a good alternative.

Atlantic HalibutHirameU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid
Atlantic HerringSardine, sild, sperling, pilchard, britU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Atlantic Surf Clams Surf ClamsU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative

The population of Atlantic surf clams is abundant. Unfortunately, surf clams are commonly harvested by a method that results in considerable damage to the seafloor. Atlantic surf clams are generally not available for purchase as whole clams, but instead sold in soups and chowders, as chopped or minced clam meat or breaded clam strips. The population of Atlantic surf clams is healthy and abundant. Unfortunately, they are commonly harvested using hydraulic dredging, which uses pressurized water jets to wash clams out of the sediment. This fishing method results in considerable damage to seafloor habitats.

BarramundiSilver Barramundi, Giant Perch, Palmer perch, BarraU.S.Farmed Best Choice

A native of the tropical waters of northern Australia, Southeast Asia and southern China, barramundi is a prized sport fish in Australia. Known for its good taste and texture, barramundi is now farmed in the U.S. and becoming widely available to Americans. Barramundi is well-suited to aquaculture since it s hardy and fast growing. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids which have beneficial health effects to humans. The way in which they are farmed in the U.S. (in a closed recirculating system) eliminates the risks of fish escapes and disease transfer, and pollution. In other areas of the Indo-Pacific, barramundi is commonly farmed in open net pens or cages that pose a variety of problems including risks of disease, pollution, and escaped fish. Imported barramundi should therefore be avoided.

BasaBasa, Striped CatfishImportedFarmed Good Alternative

Basa is a species of river catfish farmed extensively in Asia. Catfish farmed in the U.S. is considered a better choice, as it's farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner. Imported river catfish from Asia, such as basa, is commonly sold in the U.S. simply as catfish. Check country-of-origin labels to be sure you know where your catfish is from. Commercial farming of river catfish (basa) in Southeast Asia has increased rapidly in recent years. River catfish have a strong potential to be a sustainable aquaculture species, but there are conservation concerns with the current practice of open cage aquaculture combined with little or no management of these fish farming operations in Asia.

Bay ScallopsBay Scallops, HotateWorldwideFarmed Best Choice
Big-eye ScadAkule, HahalaluHawaiiWild Best Choice
Bigeye TunaAhi, Po'onui, Patudo, Maguro, ToroHawaiiTroll or Poleorhandline Good Alternative
Bigeye TunaAhi, Po'onui, Patudo, Maguro, ToroWorldwideTroll or Pole Good Alternative
Bigeye TunaAhi, Po'onui, Patudo, Maguro, ToroU.S. AtlanticLongline Good Alternative
Bigeye TunaAhi, Po'onui, Patudo, Maguro, ToroWorldwide except U.S. AtlanticLongline Avoid
Bigscale PomfretMonchong, Sickle PomfretHawaiiLongline Good Alternative
Black RockfishBlack Bass, Black Rock Cod, Sea Bass, Black SnapperCalifornia, Oregon, WashingtonHook and line Best Choice
Black Sea BassAtlantic Sea Bass, Black Perch, Rock BassU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative

Once deemed overfished, the North Atlantic population is now rebuilding and has been recently promoted from an overfished status. Black sea bass, a true sea bass, is commonly caught by both commercial and recreational fishermen, along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast. The most common methods used to fish for black sea bass in the North Atlantic are trawling, pots and traps, and hook-and-line. There are some environmental concerns associated with trawling and pots and traps, such as habitat destruction and bycatch, especially with trawling. The South Atlantic (south of Cape Hatteras, NC) population is severely overfished. Trawling was banned in this fishery in 1998, reducing the amount of bycatch and habitat damage. But because of overfishing, we recommend consumers avoid black sea bass caught in the South Atlantic.

Blue CrabHardshell Crab, Softshell Crab, Blue-Claw Crab, KaniU.S.Trap-caught Good Alternative

Blue crab has the potential to support a sustainable fishery. However, many blue crab populations have been on the decline due to habitat loss. Blue crab is therefore a good alternative. The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for blue crab due to elevated levels of mercury and PCBs. The blue crab is a bottom-dwelling creature that lives and breeds in a variety of nearshore habitats. The heart of the blue crab fishery was traditionally the Chesapeake Bay area, but now equal amounts come from the Carolina coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The blue crab has the potential to support a sustainablefishery due to its one- to two-year maturity period. The crabs are caught in traps that take little bycatch of other marine life. However, many blue crab populations have been on the decline, due to habitat loss caused by pollution and coastal development. In the Gulf of Mexico, shrimp trawlers take juvenile crabs as bycatch before they have the chance to mature and reproduce. More basic science regarding the blue crab population cycle is needed, and while Maryland/Virginia crab management is proactive, management of other domestic and international blue crab fisheries could be improved.

Blue MarlinA'u, KajikiHawaiiWild Good Alternative
Blue MarlinA'u, KajikiImportedWild Avoid
Bluefin TunaKuromaguro, Horse Mackerel, Atun de aleta azul, Hon Maguro, ToroWorldwideWild Avoid
BluefishBlue, Hatteras Blue, ChopperU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative

The U.S. Atlantic bluefish population has been caught faster than it can reproduce, resulting in an overfished status. The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for bluefish due to high levels of PCBs and mercury. Bluefish is a migratory, open ocean fish found worldwide. Until the 1990s, bluefish were primarily recreational fish; in recent years, the recreational catch has declined, but the commercial catch has remained relatively constant. Most bluefish are caught commercially with gillnets and there is a concern about the bycatch of marine mammals. However, gillnets used to catch bluefish are generally small-mesh nets, which have the lowest marine mammal bycatch rates of all gillnet mesh sizes.

Blueline TilefishGrey Tilefish, PaletaU.S. Gulf of Mexico, U.S. South AtlanticWild Avoid
BluenoseBlue-eye Trevalla, Antarctic Butterfish, Blue BreamSouthern PacificWild Good Alternative

Bluenose is not a best choice at this time due to a lack of knowledge on its life history and population status. Bluenose is a relative newcomer to menus, and may also be sold as Antarctic butterfish or bluenose sea bass. Bluenose is found on continental slopes and around seamounts in the southern Pacific and Indian oceans, mainly off New Zealand and South Australia. Data on bluenose have only been collected since the 1980s and we still don't know much about its life history and biology. Little is also known about the health of bluenose populations. Adults live near the ocean bottom and are sometimes caught with deepwater trawls, which damage the seafloor and the corals that live there. On the positive side, however, most of the bluenose available in the U.S. is from the New Zealand hook and line fishery. Other fishes (like grouper, grenadier, and dogfish) are caught as bycatch in some of the fisheries that catch bluenose. The management agencies in Australia and New Zealand are working to reduce this bycatch.

California HalibutMonterey Halibut, Chicken Halibut, Southern Halibut, HirameU.S. PacificHook and lineorbottomtrawl Good Alternative
California HalibutMonterey Halibut, Chicken Halibut, Southern Halibut, HirameU.S. PacificSet gillnet Avoid
Canned TunaAlbacore / White Tuna, Skipjack, Yellowfin, & "Chunk Light"WorldwideWild Good Alternative
CapelinSmelt roe, MasagoIcelandWild Best Choice

Capelin are fished primarily for their roe. Capelin roe, typically called smelt roe, is a popular sushi item where it is sold under the Japanese name masago. Icelandic capelin is a best choice as the fishery has the least bycatch and the most effective management practices. Capelin are small fish that are an important food source for other ocean wildlife. Therefore, the capelin fishery must consider and include the needs of cod, herring and the many other species that rely on capelin as a source of food. A good fishery management plan takes all of these needs into account. Fortunately, capelin mature at an early age, grow quickly to maturity and reproduce at a very high rate. These characteristics help protect capelin populations from overfishing. Overfishing does not appear to be occurring in either the Icelandic or Canadian fisheries, but the data aren’t entirely clear. Canadian populations are fluctuating, with those in Iceland remaining mostly stable. Capelin are most commonly caught with purse seines, a type of fishing gear that causes very little habitat damage. The Canadian fishery is increasingly relying on trap nets, which are generally known to have moderate impacts on habitat. Bycatch is a low concern in the Icelandic fishery, whereas recent bycatch levels in the Canadian capelin fisheries are unknown. Management in the Icelandic fisheries is making strides towards thoughtful and integrated policies, whereas it is unclear if Canadian management measures have maintained the population levels over time.

CapelinSmelt roe, MasagoCanadaWild Good Alternative

Capelin are fished primarily for their roe. Capelin roe, typically called smelt roe, is a popular sushi item where it is sold under the Japanese name masago. Icelandic capelin is a best choice as the fishery has the least bycatch and the most effective management practices. Capelin are small fish that are an important food source for other ocean wildlife. Therefore, the capelin fishery must consider and include the needs of cod, herring and the many other species that rely on capelin as a source of food. A good fishery management plan takes all of these needs into account. Fortunately, capelin mature at an early age, grow quickly to maturity and reproduce at a very high rate. These characteristics help protect capelin populations from overfishing. Overfishing does not appear to be occurring in either the Icelandic or Canadian fisheries, but the data aren’t entirely clear. Canadian populations are fluctuating, with those in Iceland remaining mostly stable. Capelin are most commonly caught with purse seines, a type of fishing gear that causes very little habitat damage. The Canadian fishery is increasingly relying on trap nets, which are generally known to have moderate impacts on habitat. Bycatch is a low concern in the Icelandic fishery, whereas recent bycatch levels in the Canadian capelin fisheries are unknown. Management in the Icelandic fisheries is making strides towards thoughtful and integrated policies, whereas it is unclear if Canadian management measures have maintained the population levels over time.

CatfishChannel CatfishU.S.Farmed Best Choice

U.S. farmed catfish is a best choice because it's farmed in an ecologically responsible manner. We recommend you look for the country-of-origin label to ensure you're purchasing U.S. farm-raised catfish instead of imported catfish, like basa and swai, which are sometimes also sold simply as catfish. A specialty of the southeastern U.S., channel catfish is now one of the most commonly farmed fish in the U.S., generating the largest volume and revenue of all farmed seafood. As a result, catfish has become one of America's most popular seafoods. Raised in closed, inland ponds using recirculated fresh water and fed a primarily vegetarian diet of soybeans, corn and rice, U.S. farmed catfish is considered to be one of the most sustainable fish species available. Closed, inland ponds dramatically reduce the risk of farmed fish escaping and spreading disease to native wild populations. Their primarily vegetarian diet, with extremely low levels of fishmeal, reduces the number of wild fish caught.

Caviar, SturgeonSturgeon Roe, Paddlefish RoeU.S.Farmed Best Choice

Avoid imported caviar as most of it comes from sturgeon that are at risk of extinction. Your best choice is caviar from U.S., farmed white sturgeon and paddlefish. Caviar is the salted eggs of sturgeon. The majority of the world's caviar comes from the Caspian Sea, and is imported from Russian, Iran and Turkey. But overfishing and water pollution have put all Caspian Sea sturgeons at grave risk for extinction. Most wild sturgeon populations can't reproduce quickly enough to keep up with demand. Some sturgeon only reproduce every four years and don't breed until they’re 25 years old. Illegal fishing threatens populations trying to recover from years of heavy fishing, and dams and water pollution make it difficult for wild sturgeon to reproduce. The United States has banned the import of beluga caviar to protect Caspian Sea sturgeon. Though the U.S. is only a minor caviar producer, sturgeon and paddlefish farming has grown in the last several years and is considered the best choice for caviar.

Caviar, SturgeonBeluga Caviar, Osetra Caviar, Sevruga CaviarImportedWild Avoid

Avoid imported caviar as most of it comes from sturgeon that are at risk of extinction. Your best choice is caviar from U.S., farmed white sturgeon and paddlefish. Caviar is the salted eggs of sturgeon. The majority of the world's caviar comes from the Caspian Sea, and is imported from Russian, Iran and Turkey. But overfishing and water pollution have put all Caspian Sea sturgeons at grave risk for extinction. Most wild sturgeon populations can't reproduce quickly enough to keep up with demand. Some sturgeon only reproduce every four years and don't breed until they’re 25 years old. Illegal fishing threatens populations trying to recover from years of heavy fishing, and dams and water pollution make it difficult for wild sturgeon to reproduce. The United States has banned the import of beluga caviar to protect Caspian Sea sturgeon. Though the U.S. is only a minor caviar producer, sturgeon and paddlefish farming has grown in the last several years and is considered the best choice for caviar.

Chilean SeabassPatagonian Toothfish, Antarctic Toothfish, Black Hake, IcefishAntarcticWild Avoid

Avoid Chilean seabass as it is overfished. Most are caught using bottom longlines, which lead to bycatch of seabirds, most notably endangered albatross. The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for Chilean seabass due to high levels of mercury. In March 2004, Chilean seabass from the South Georgia Patagonian Toothfish Longline Fishery was certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). However, the amount of certified product available is only a small portion of the total Chilean seabass catch. Legitimate sources are required to have the MSC Chain of Custody certification and purveyors should be able to produce this when asked. Without proof of this certification, consumers should not purchase Chilean seabass. Slow-growing fish that breed late in life, Chilean seabass are naturally vulnerable to overfishing. Illegal fishing is rampant, especially in remote Antarctic waters where law enforcement is difficult. Fishing methods cause more problems: bottom trawling can damage seafloor habitat, and longlining hooks can fatally catch and drown endangered albatrosses and other seabirds.

ClamsSteamers, Littlenecks, CocklesWorldwideFarmed Best Choice
CrayfishCrawfish, Crawdads, MudbugsU.S.Farmed Best Choice

U.S. farmed crayfish are a best choice because they’re farmed in an ecologically responsible manner. Live crayfish available in the U.S. are farmed domestically and are a best choice. A significant portion of frozen crayfish, however, are imported from countries where there are problems with the farming techniques used. When buying frozen crayfish, look for the country of origin label to ensure you’re purchasing U.S. farm-raised crayfish. In many respects, crayfish farming is very environmentally friendly. Crayfish are farmed in either agricultural ponds or in rotation with a crop, typically rice. The crop is grown and harvested, then the land is flooded in preparation for aquaculture. Submerged vegetation provides the basis for a food web that sustains the crayfish population. The problems with crayfish farms stem from the frequency of escapes. Crayfish regularly escape from fish farms and have established invasive populations. In their introduced range, crayfish have heavily disrupted aquatic ecosystems and threatened the existence of native crayfish stocks. Overall, the damage in the U.S. is only of moderate concern, as the bulk of U.S. production comes from Louisiana, where the species is native. However, most imported crayfish come from China, where crayfish are not native. Their escape from Chinese aquaculture operations has caused considerable ecological damage and is considered a critical conservation concern.

CrayfishCrawfish, Crawdads, MudbugsImportedFarmed Avoid

U.S. farmed crayfish are a best choice because they’re farmed in an ecologically responsible manner. Live crayfish available in the U.S. are farmed domestically and are a best choice. A significant portion of frozen crayfish, however, are imported from countries where there are problems with the farming techniques used. When buying frozen crayfish, look for the country of origin label to ensure you’re purchasing U.S. farm-raised crayfish. In many respects, crayfish farming is very environmentally friendly. Crayfish are farmed in either agricultural ponds or in rotation with a crop, typically rice. The crop is grown and harvested, then the land is flooded in preparation for aquaculture. Submerged vegetation provides the basis for a food web that sustains the crayfish population. The problems with crayfish farms stem from the frequency of escapes. Crayfish regularly escape from fish farms and have established invasive populations. In their introduced range, crayfish have heavily disrupted aquatic ecosystems and threatened the existence of native crayfish stocks. Overall, the damage in the U.S. is only of moderate concern, as the bulk of U.S. production comes from Louisiana, where the species is native. However, most imported crayfish come from China, where crayfish are not native. Their escape from Chinese aquaculture operations has caused considerable ecological damage and is considered a critical conservation concern.

Dogfish sharkShark, Dogfish, RockWorldwide except B.C.Wild Avoid
Dungeness CrabMarket Crab, San Francisco Crab,Pacific Edible Crab, Commercial CrabU.S.and CanadaTrap-caught Best Choice
Florida PompanoPompanoU.S.Wild Avoid
FlounderFlounder, Fluke, Sole, HirameAtlanticWild Avoid
Freshwater EelUnagiWorldwideFarmed Avoid
Giant Clam/GeoduckMirugai, Horseneck clam, Long necked clam, Jumbo clamU.S. PacificWild Best Choice
Golden TilefishRainbow Tilefish, Golden Snapper, Colorful TilefishU.S. Mid-AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Golden TilefishRainbow Tilefish, Golden Snapper, Colorful TilefishU.S. Gulf of Mexico, U.S. South AtlanticWild Avoid
Gray SnapperUku, Utu, JobfishHawaiiWild Good Alternative
Gray, Lane, Mutton, Yellowtail SnapperGray Silk, Mangrove, Rainbow SnapperU.S.Wild Good Alternative
Greenland HalibutGreenland Turbot, HirameU.S. PacificWild Good Alternative
GrenadierPacific Roughy,Pacific Grenadier, Giant Grenadier, Shoulderspot GrenadierU.S. PacificWild Avoid
GroupersHapu'u, Mero, Sea BassNorthwest Hawaiian IslandsWild Good Alternative
GroupersSea Bass, Mero, Red GrouperU.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of MexicoLongline Avoid
GroupersHapu'u, Mero, Sea BassMain Hawaiian IslandsWild Avoid
Gulf CorvinaWhite Sea Bass, Corvina GolfinaGulf of CaliforniaWild Avoid

Gulf corvina is considered vulnerable to global extinction. Many species of finfishes are sold as corvina. Gulf corvina are fished year-round in the Gulf of California, but usually are not available outside the Gulf region. Gulf corvina are found only in the northern Gulf of California. This makes them especially vulnerable to overfishing. Indeed, the population has been—and continues to be severely overfished, due, in part, to minimal and ineffective management of the fishery. As a result, fewer and smaller fish are being caught than just a few years ago. Two types of fishing gear used for Gulf corvina gillnets and trawls; which also lead to serious bycatch and habitat effects. Finally, Gulf corvina’s spawning and nursery habitat in the Colorado River delta has been degraded by upstream diversions of the river, which have lowered the freshwater flow in the region.

HaddockHaddockU.S. AtlanticHook and line Good Alternative
HaddockHaddockU.S. AtlanticTrawl-caught Avoid
Hard ClamsLittleneck, Cherrystone, ChowderU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Imitation CrabAlaska pollock, Surimi, Imitation lobster, KanikamaAlaskaWild Best Choice
Imitation CrabSurimi, Imitation Lobster, KanikamaWorldwide except AlaskaWild Good Alternative
Jonah CrabAtlantic Dungeness CrabU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Jumbo SquidHumboldt Squid, Giant Squid, Calamar Gigante, Jibia GiganteGulf of CaliforniaWild Good Alternative
King CrabAlaska King Crab, Red King Crab, Golden King Crab, Blue King Crab, KaniU.S.Trap-caught Good Alternative
King CrabKing Crab, Red King Crab, Golden King Crab, Blue King Crab, KaniImportedTrap-caught Avoid
King MackerelCavalla, Kingfish, HogU.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of MexicoWild Best Choice
Kona CrabSpanner Crab, Frog CrabAustraliaWild Best Choice
Kona CrabSpanner Crab, Frog Crab, Papa'i kualoaHawaiiWild Good Alternative
Lake HerringNorthern cisco, tullibeeLake SuperiorWild Good Alternative
Lake TroutLaker, namaycush, togue, mackinaw, char, salmon troutLake SuperiorWild Good Alternative
Lake TroutLaker, namaycush, togue, mackinaw, char, salmon troutLake Huron, Lake MichiganWild Avoid
Lake WhitefishSault whitefish, whitefish, gizzard fish, grande coregoneLake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake MichiganTrap-net Best Choice
Lake WhitefishSault whitefish, whitefish, gizzard fish, grande coregoneLake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake ErieSet gillnet Good Alternative
LingcodBuffalo Cod, Bluefish, White CodU.S.and CanadaWild Good Alternative
Longfin SquidCommon Squid, Boned SquidU.S. AtlanticTrawl-caught Best Choice
Mackerel ScadOpelu, Round ScadHawaiiWild Best Choice
Mahi Mahi / DolphinfishDoradoU.S. AtlanticTroll or Pole Best Choice
Mahi Mahi / DolphinfishDoradoU.S.Longline Good Alternative
Mahi Mahi / DolphinfishDoradoImportedTroll or Pole Good Alternative
Mahi Mahi / DolphinfishDoradoHawaiiTroll or Pole Good Alternative
Mahi Mahi / DolphinfishDoradoImportedLongline Avoid
MonkfishGoosefish, Anglerfish, AnkohU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid
Monkfish liverAnkimoU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid
MusselsBlue Mussels, Black Mussels, Green Mussels, MurugaiWorldwideFarmed Best Choice
Northern ShrimpSalad Shrimp, Cocktail Shrimp, EbiCanadian & U.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Ocean Quahog ClamsQuahag, Black clamU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
OctopusHe'e, TakoHawaiiWild Good Alternative
OctopusPulpoGulf of CaliforniaWild Good Alternative
Octopus (sushi)Common Octopus, TakoWorldwideWild Avoid
OpahMoonfishHawaiiLongline Good Alternative
Orange RoughySlimeheadWorldwideWild Avoid
OystersAmerican Oyster, Blue Points Oyster, Common Oyster, KakiWorldwideFarmed Best Choice
OystersAmerican Oyster, Blue Points Oyster, Common OysterU.S. Gulf of Mexico and CanadaWild Good Alternative
Pacific CodAlaska Cod, True Cod, Grey CodU.S. PacificLongline, jig and trap Best Choice

Avoid Atlantic cod from North America; it has been fished heavily for the past 50 years, resulting in massive population declines. Scientists agree that we are now fishing the last 10% of this population. Despite strict management in the U.S. and Canada, cod populations remain overfished. Canadian populations are so low, that some are listed as endangered or threatened. Most cod populations in the Northeast Atlantic are in extremely poor condition, with the exception of Icelandic and Barents Sea cod, which are a good alternative, when caught without trawl gear. Cod from these fisheries also have relatively better population levels. Atlantic cod are groundfish, living along the seafloor at depths up to 1,312 feet (400 meters) on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Fishermen often catch cod with bottom trawl gear, which involves dragging large nets across the seafloor. Trawling damages marine habitats and accidentally catches other marine life, that is then discarded as unwanted catch.

Pacific CodAlaska Cod, True Cod, Gray CodU.S. PacificTrawl-caught Good Alternative

Avoid Atlantic cod from North America; it has been fished heavily for the past 50 years, resulting in massive population declines. Scientists agree that we are now fishing the last 10% of this population. Despite strict management in the U.S. and Canada, cod populations remain overfished. Canadian populations are so low, that some are listed as endangered or threatened. Most cod populations in the Northeast Atlantic are in extremely poor condition, with the exception of Icelandic and Barents Sea cod, which are a good alternative, when caught without trawl gear. Cod from these fisheries also have relatively better population levels. Atlantic cod are groundfish, living along the seafloor at depths up to 1,312 feet (400 meters) on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Fishermen often catch cod with bottom trawl gear, which involves dragging large nets across the seafloor. Trawling damages marine habitats and accidentally catches other marine life, that is then discarded as unwanted catch.

Pacific HalibutAlaskan halibut, HirameU.S. & Canadian PacificWild Best Choice
Pacific SanddabMottled Sanddab, Soft Flounder, MelgrimU.S. PacificWild Good Alternative
Pacific SoleSole, Flounder, Sandab, HiramePacificWild Good Alternative
Pink ShrimpOcean Shrimp, Salad Shrimp, Cocktail Shrimp, EbiOregonWild Best Choice
Pink SnapperOpakapaka, Palu-enaenaNorthwest Hawaiian IslandsWild Good Alternative
Pink SnapperOpakapaka, Palu-enaenaMain Hawaiian IslandsWild Avoid
PollockImitation Crab, SurimiU.S. caught from AlaskaWild Best Choice
Queen ConchConchWorldwideWild Avoid

This long-lived species matures late in life, making it vulnerable to fishing pressure. Queen conch is a large marine snail native to the Caribbean basin. Its range in the U.S. encompasses the Florida Keys as well as the southeastern shore of the Florida peninsula. Queen conch is slow-moving and easy to pick up by hand, or with the simplest of fishing gear (known as poke poles). They are especially vulnerable to fishing during the spawning season, when they gather in large numbers. Both the commercial and recreational conch fisheries in Florida are closed due to overfishing and stocks have been slow to recover. Pollution and the loss of nearshore habitat is complicating recovery in some areas. Most other nations have not done stock assessments on queen conch and need to take basic steps to curb rampant illegal fishing. Only a few conch-exporting nations have adequate management and stocks that are probably not overfished. For these reasons, conch is on our Avoid list until populations can recover.

Rainbow SmeltAmerican smelt, leefish, freshwater smelt, frost fishLake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake ErieWild Good Alternative
Rainbow TroutGolden TroutU.S.Farmed Best Choice
Red PorgyTaiU.S.Wild Good Alternative
Red SnapperEhu, `Ula`ula, Palu-malauNorthwest Hawaiian IslandsWild Good Alternative
Red SnapperMule Sow, Rat, Tai, American Red SnapperU.S. Gulf of MexicoWild Avoid
Red SnapperRed Snapper, American Red Snapper, Night Snapper, TaiImportedWild Avoid
Red SnapperEhu, `Ula`ula, Palu-malau, TaiMain Hawaiian IslandsWild Avoid
RockfishRock Cod,Pacific Snapper, Red Snapper,Pacific Ocean PerchAlaska & British ColumbiaHook and line Good Alternative
RockfishRock Cod,Pacific Snapper, Red Snapper,Pacific Ocean PerchU.S. and CanadaTrawl-caught Avoid
Round WhitefishMenominee whitefish, pilot fish, frost fish, round-fishLake Huron, Lake MichiganWild Good Alternative
Ruby SnapperOnaga, Long-tailed Snapper, `Ula`ula koa`eNorthwest Hawaiian IslandsWild Good Alternative
Ruby SnapperOnaga, Long-tailed Snapper, `Ula`ula koa`eMain Hawaiian IslandsWild Avoid
Sablefish/Black CodBlack Cod, Butterfish, Alaska cod, GindaraAlaska & British ColumbiaWild Best Choice
Sablefish/Black CodBlack Cod, Butterfish, Sable, GindaraCalifornia, Oregon, WashingtonWild Good Alternative
SalmonCoho, Sockeye, King, Pink and Red, SakeAlaskaWild Best Choice
SalmonCoho, Sockeye, King, Pink and Red, SakeWashingtonWild Good Alternative
Salmon (farmed)Farmed Salmon, Atlantic Salmon, SakeWorldwideFarmed Avoid
Salmon RoeIkura, roeAlaskaWild Best Choice
Salmon Roe (farmed)Ikura, Atlantic salmon roe, Farmed salmon roeWorldwideFarmed Avoid
SardineSardine, Pilchard, IwashiU.S. PacificWild Best Choice
ScupPorgy, ScupU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
Sea ScallopsGiant Scallop, HotateAtlantic, U.S. & CanadaWild Good Alternative
Sea TurtlesCaguamas, Tortugas MarinasGulf of CaliforniaWild Avoid
Sea UrchinUniCanadaWild Best Choice
Sea UrchinUniCaliforniaWild Good Alternative
Sea UrchinUniMaineWild Avoid
SharkSharkWorldwideWild Avoid
Shortbill SpearfishHebi, Shortnose SpearfishHawaiiWild Good Alternative
Shortbill SpearfishHebi, Shortnose SpearfishImportedWild Avoid
Shortfin SquidSummer SquidU.S. AtlanticTrawl-caught Good Alternative
ShrimpWhite Shrimp Pink Shrimp, Brown Shrimp, Rock Shrimp, EbiU.S.Wild Good Alternative
ShrimpWest coast shrimp,Pacific white shrimp, whiteleg shrimp, EbiU.S.Farmed Good Alternative
ShrimpBlack Tiger Shrimp, Tiger Prawn, White Shrimp, EbiImportedWild Avoid
ShrimpBlack Tiger Shrimp, Tiger Prawn, White Shrimp, EbiImportedFarmed Avoid
Silver, Red and Offshore HakeWhiting, Ling Hake, Squirrel HakeU.S. AtlanticWild Good Alternative
SkatesSkate, Raja Fish, Imitation ScallopsU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid
Skipjack TunaAku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, KatsuoWorldwideTroll or Pole Best Choice
Skipjack TunaAku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, KatsuoHawaiiTroll or Poleorhandline Best Choice
Skipjack TunaAku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, KatsuoHawaiiLongline Good Alternative
Skipjack TunaAku, Canned Light Tuna, Bonito, KatsuoImportedLongline Avoid
Snow CrabSnow Crab, Tanner Crab, Queen Crab, Spider Crab, KaniAlaska,CanadaWild Good Alternative
Softshell/Steamers ClamsSteamer, Longneck, FryerU.S. AtlanticWild Best Choice
Sole, Flounder (Atlantic)Flounder/Fluke, Sole, Sanddab, HirameAtlanticWild Avoid
Spanish MackerelSierra, Spaniard, Aji, SawaraU.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of MexicoWild Best Choice
Spiny DogfishShark, Dogfish, Rock Salmon, Rock CodBritish ColumbiaBottom Longline Good Alternative
Spiny LobsterRock Lobster, Warmwater LobsterU.S.& AustraliaTrap-caught Best Choice
Spiny LobsterSpiny LobsterWestern coast of Baja PeninsulaWild Best Choice
Spiny LobsterRock Lobster, Warmwater LobsterCaribbean importedWild Avoid
Spot PrawnPrawn, Spot shrimp, AmaebiBritish ColumbiaWild Best Choice
Spot PrawnPrawn, Spot Shrimp, AmaebiU.S.Wild Good Alternative
SquidCalamari, International Squid, IkaWorldwideWild Good Alternative
Stone CrabGulf Stone Crab, Florida Stone CrabU.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of MexicoTrap-caught Best Choice
Striped BassHybrid Striped Bass, SuzukiU.S.Farmed Best Choice
Striped BassGreenhead, Rockfish, Striper, SuzukiU.S.Wild Best Choice
Striped MarlinA'u, NairagiWorldwideWild Avoid
Striped MulletJumping Mullet, Jumping Jack, Popeye MulletU.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of MexicoWild Best Choice
SturgeonSturgeonU.S.Farmed Best Choice
SturgeonBeluga Sturgeon, Stellate Sturgeon, Russian SturgeonImportedWild Avoid
SwaiSwai, Striped CatfishImportedFarmed Good Alternative
SwordfishBroadbill, Espada, EmperadorHawaiiHarpoon or Landline Best Choice
SwordfishBroadbill, Espada, EmperadorU.S., CanadaHarpoon or Landline Best Choice
SwordfishBroadbill, Espada, EmperadorCalifornia, OregonDrift Gillnet Good Alternative
SwordfishBroadbill, Espada, EmperadorU.S. including HawaiiLongline Good Alternative
SwordfishBroadbill, Espada, EmperadorImportedLongline Avoid
TilapiaIzumidaiU.S.Farmed Best Choice
TilapiaIzumidaiCentral America, South AmericaFarmed Good Alternative
TilapiaIzumidaiChina, TaiwanFarmed Avoid
TotoabaMexican Giant Bass, CabaicuchoGulf of CaliforniaWild Avoid
Trevally/JackUlua, Butaguchi, White UiluaHawaiiWild Good Alternative
Vermilion SnapperBeeliners, Night SnappersU.S.Wild Avoid
WahooOno,Pacific Kingfish, Ocean BarracudaAtlantic, Gulf of Mexico, HawaiiWild Good Alternative
WalleyeDor, yellow pike, yellow pickerelLake ErieWild Good Alternative
White HakeHakeU.S. AtlanticWild Avoid
White SeabassKing Croaker, Weakfish, SeatroutU.S. PacificWild Best Choice
White SturgeonSturgeonOregon, WashingtonWild Good Alternative
WreckfishSea BassU.S. AtlanticWild Best Choice
Yellow PerchLake perch, Ned, yellow Ned, redfin, ringed or raccon perchLake ErieWild Best Choice
Yellow PerchLake perch, Ned, yellow Ned, redfin, ringed or raccon perchLake Huron, Lake OntarioWild Good Alternative
Yellowfin TunaAhi, Maguro, ToroU.S. AtlanticTroll or Pole Best Choice
Yellowfin TunaAhi, Maguro, ToroHawaiiTroll or Poleorhandline Good Alternative
Yellowfin TunaAhi, Maguro, ToroWorldwideTroll or Pole Good Alternative
Yellowfin TunaAhi, Canned Light Tuna, Maguro, ToroU.S. AtlanticLongline Good Alternative
Yellowfin TunaAhi, Canned Light Tuna, Toro, MaguroWorldwide except U.S. AtlanticLongline Avoid
YellowtailPacific Yellowtail, Almaco Jack, Kahala, Huayaipe, Kona Kampachi, HamachiU.S.Farmed Good Alternative
YellowtailYellowtail Kingfish, Goldstriped Amberjack, Hiramasa, HamachiAustraliaFarmed Avoid
YellowtailYellowtail, Japanese Amberjack, Buri, HamachiJapanFarmed Avoid

Other Resources

There are plenty of other resources on the web for information, some of my favorites are:

Miscellaneous Pages:
The Tokyo Food Page is a large repository of general information about sushi, restaurants, recipes, and Tokyo!

Products & Supplies:
Catalina Offshore Products offers sushi quality seafood over the internet to retail consumers now.

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