How Do We Choose Our Seafood?
Sustainability is one of those tricky words that get tossed around the natural foods world. We have the feeling that sustainable means the process can go on indefinitely without harm to a species or its environment. But there is no universal meaning of harm. It is impossible to have a unified theory of sustainability because different species have different needs.
Freshwater fish need to be farmed to be sustainable and saltwater fish generally should be wild caught. How wild caught fish are harvested can affect sea life from the surface of the water to the sea floor from bycatch, the unintentional catch of species other than what are being fished for. This may also include juveniles or underdeveloped fish of the intended species which are not sold, but disposed of. Some types of nets and lines tear up sea-life habitats. Third party sustainability certifiers evaluate these types of practices and attempt to raise awareness to help keep our oceans and fresh waters abundant with sea life. These agencies look at how the fisherman and the tools they use interact with the environment where the fish are grown and harvested. They observe if the life cycle of the species can maintain itself. They evaluate the impact that consumer demand has on seafood and the environment.
Wheatsville uses two of these watchdog agencies to determine our seafood selection.
• The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has been around since 1999. They use science based, peer reviewed reports- that are available on their website- to evaluate fisheries and seafood. They use their regional pocket guides to raise consumer awareness of the best choices to keep our seafood healthy and sustainable. If scientific data is inconclusive or unavailable they err on the conservative side. Wheatsville only offers best choice and good alternative choices from the MBA Seafood Watch list.
• The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a non-profit organization that uses a third party team to establish the highest standards of traceability and sustainability. This is a voluntary certification, whose standards exceed internationally recognized best practices for fisheries. Products with the MSC seal can be traced back to a certified Sustainable fishery.
Both of these organizations have mobile apps that can be downloaded to your phone or mobile device.
Most of our Seafood comes from the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
• The Gulf is the closest ocean to Wheatsville. We’re glad of the opportunity to support Texas fisherman and fisheries.
• Alaska: Seafood is the state’s biggest revenue source. It is one of the best managed and maintained fisheries in the world. Alaska has rigid laws to maintain a clean, healthy and sustainable resource.
Cooking seafood doesn’t have to be intimidating. Pick the right cooking method for your seafood and don’t overcook it. When you can start to pull the flakes apart with a fork, it’s done.
Blackened Fish is a simple preparation that can be used for just about any fish-trout, black drum, salmon, cod, tilapia.
Combine these seasonings in a bowl:
1 Tbs paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
Melt enough butter to coat the fish filets (somewhere around a tablespoon per filet) and to have about a 1/4 cup to cook with. Dip the fish in the butter and sprinkle both sides with the rub. Place them in a very hot (preferably cast iron) pan. Pour about a teaspoon of the butter over the fish. It is going to get smoky. Cook about two minutes, until it looks charred. Flip it over and do the same to the other side.