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Contributing chefs Nora Pouillon, Thom Fox, Monica Pope & Eric Ripert

Nora Pouillon, thom Fox, Monica Pope & Eric Ripert

Buying the right fish these days is no longer as simple as checking for clear eyes and pink gills. You can't eyeball a fish and tell where it comes from, how it was caught or whether it might contain dangerous levels of mercury. Many of the fish we love to eat, and which we're used to seeing on restaurant menus -- orange roughy, bluefin tuna, cod, Chilean sea bass -- are vanishing because of the intense pressure we're putting on our ocean resources. Bottom-trawling boats are sailing farther and fishing deeper than ever before, hauling in hordes of fish with heavy, weighted nets that tear up the ocean bottom. Fish are being caught too young, before they can reproduce. Tons of unwanted fish are scooped up and tossed out in the search for more desirable catch. Pollution in coastal waters is destroying important fish habitat and imperiling the health of our oceans. Throw in toxic mercury contamination, and it's enough to make a concerned seafood lover swear off fish altogether.

But there is a way to make better seafood choices. By choosing to buy fish that are in healthy supply, we can give dwindling fish populations a chance to recover -- and keep fishermen at work. By avoiding fish caught using destructive methods such as bottom trawling, we give an incentive to suppliers to switch to less harmful techniques that will cut down on waste and preserve the health of ocean ecosystems.

These recipes from NRDC staff and some of our chef friends feature sustainable seafood -- fish that's abundant, caught or raised in an environmentally friendly manner, and low in mercury. You can browse through these pages for culinary inspiration, or print out favorites to add to your own collection. And keep in mind that these recipes offer just a taste of your sustainable options. See the Monterey Bay Aquarium's frequently updated Seafood Guide to find sustainability ratings for almost any fish, and be sure to check NRDC's guide to Mercury Contamination in Fish to make sure you're eating fish safely.

Bon appétit.

Tasty (and Sustainable) Seafood Recipes

See all recipes (PDF)

What about shrimp?

last revised 11/3/2006

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