Figures I would finally start to like seafood and begin experimenting with it right before I started to become concerned about a sustainable food system. It’s only been about three years since I’ve embraced seafood, and shortly after that I read Amimal, Vegetable, Miracle and discovered how food choices effect the environment.

There are lots of seafood guides available online to help me figure out what is sustainable and what is not, but when I’m standing in front of the seafood case at the grocery store, away from my computer, they aren’t much help.

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch is one of the more popular seafood guide’s online, and now they’ve made it possible to get their website information with ease when I’m standing in front of the seafood case. They’ve turned their guide into a free iPhone app.

According to Monterey Bay Aquarium, “70 percent of the world’s fisheries are either in decline or are already fished at their capacity.” To continue to eat fish from the endangered fisheries is to continue our unsustainable practices. This app can help seafood eaters and sushi eaters make wise choices.

Here are the features:

  • Free, up-to-date recommendations at your fingertips.
  • Regional guides highlight the seafood that's best in each area of the country.
  • It loads the right guide for your location using your phone's GPS.
  • It lets you search for seafood quickly and easily within regions.
  • It lets you sort seafood by rank.
  • Sushi guide lists fish by Japanese name as well as common market name.
I downloaded the app to see how it works. When I first opened the app, it chose my region, and it chose it correctly — Northeast. It then allowed me to either click on seafood or sushi. I can search seafood either alphabetically or by rating. The ratings are easy to understand — best choice, good alternative, or avoid. It’s easy to see, for example, that I should avoid Atlantic Halibut but Pacific Halibut is a best choice.

The sushi guide works the same way, and you can find both the Japanese name for the fish and the common name.

The app is simple to use and so handy. It would also be good to use in a restaurant when you’re mulling over the seafood options on the menu or choosing your meal at a sushi bar.

If you don’t have an iPhone, Seafood Watch recommendations are available for any mobile device with an Internet connection. If you bookmark the page on your phone website browser, you can get to it easily.

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

iPhone app: Seafood watch
Monterey Bay Aquarium's popular sustainable seafood guide now available as a free app.