By Dr. Phillip Goglia
WILD CHILEAN SEA BASS
If you want to eat this fish, be very choosy about where it comes from. Chilean sea bass has high levels of mercury and should only be consumed twice per month by adults (assuming no other contaminated fish are consumed). It’s also threatened by overfishing. Chilean sea bass is in high demand but global stocks are shrinking. In particular, stay away from those from the Crozet Islands, Prince Edward and Marion Islands, and Chile, where overfishing is rampant. In addition, these places have no recognized stock assessment and other species are often caught and threatened as part of the harvest. As an alternative, choose longline-caught Chilean sea bass from Macquarie Island in the South Pacific, the Falkland Islands, off the coast of Argentina, or the remote Antarctic Heard and McDonald Islands. Also look for the blue eco-label of the MSC for certified sustainable products.
“This is a fish to avoid entirely,” says Brian Clement, co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute and author of “Killer Fish: How Eating Aquatic Life Endangers Your Health.” Tilefish has some of the highest levels of mercury and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a maximum of one serving per month for adults (assuming no other contaminated fish are consumed). The tilefish is currently overfished and there are significant bycatch issues. If you are going to enjoy tilefish, look for fish from the U.S. mid-Atlantic which has better fishing practices.
Orange roughy can live up to 100 years but despite being one of the longest-living fish, the global stock of orange roughy is low due to their slow reproductive cycle and overfishing. “Although ocean fishing has become extremely regulated, stock has not recovered from the boom in popularity of this fish,” says chef Frankie Terzoli. The orange roughy has been given the “Avoid” ranking by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch because of overfishing and the damaging trawling method that fishermen use. Additionally, the Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory, warning of high mercury levels in orange roughy.