Time reported this week that “as the demand for seafood continues to rise, fueled in part by the now global appetite for sushi, we're in danger of fishing out the oceans.” The doom and gloom of it all is that if we — meaning all of us, not just the U.S. — don’t start fishing responsibly and sustainably, wild fisheries could collapse permanently. According to a 2006 study published in Science, this could happen as soon as the mid-century. It’s an informative article, and I encourage you to read the whole thing — after you’ve finished reading this, of course.

How can you, as a consumer, know if the fish you are buying is from a sustainable, responsible source? When you’re standing in front of the seafood case in your fish market or grocery store, where can you turn for information?

FishPhone is a sustainable seafood text messaging service that gives you immediate access to the information you need from your cellphone. When you text the name of the fish that you are considering purchasing to 30644, you will get an immediate text message back with information on what is sustainable and what is not.

I just texted “fish-salmon” to FishPhone, and here is the message I received.

  • wild Alaska (GREEN) very few environmental concerns, MSC certified

  • farmed (RED) significant environmental concerns, HEALTH ADVISORY PCB’s, dioxins and pesticides

  • wild US West Coast (YELLOW) some environmental concerns

This is a handy service to have access to when you’re standing in front of that seafood case. The colors next to the regions are part of a code that The Blue Ocean Institute, the organization that offers FishPhone, uses as a quick guide to sustainable fish.
There is a lot of other handy information on The Blue Ocean Institute’s website. They offer a downloadable Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood that is available for cellphone and mobile devices. They also have a sushi guide that rates the sustainability of the common types of seafood used in sushi.

If you’re a seafood lover and are concerned about how your dining habits are impacting the environment, Blue Ocean Institute has a wealth of information that can help you make responsible choices. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

FishPhone: Sustainable info at your fingertips
Use your cellphone and get immediate information on the sustainability of your seafood choices.