Seafood action

 Having a seafood dinner with a marine biologist can be depressing. We’re grumpy about ordering practically everything – the shrimp (bycatch; mangrove destruction), the salmon (farmed? Parasites, antibiotics, and harm to wild salmon), the tuna (depending on the species, bycatch & overfishing), and on and on. Just this weekend, I got flustered over the thresher shark special – sure, it’s local to southern California, but we really shouldn’t be eating sharks when 40-95% of them are already gone
This week, take one step to make dinner with your local marine biologist more cheery. Write to Trader Joe’s and tell them to stop carrying orange roughy. CR McClain at Deep Sea News has the dirt:

Orange Roughy are a slow growing and long lived fish making them extremely vulnerable to overfishing. The filets that arrive at market are likely from fish 50+ years in age. Orange Roughy is caught by bottom trawling, particularly on seamounts where aggregations occur. Bottom trawling destroys the seafloor ecosystem including deep-water corals…Environmental Defense has also issued a health advisory for this fish due to high levels of mercury.


Deep Sea News even has a handy pre-written letter and a link to Trader Joe’s online comment form. Go tell your happy organic grocery store to stop destroying the ocean!  


2 Responses to Seafood action

  1. Hao Ye says:

    According to my food science book, orange roughy contains wax esters that are indigestible: consumption can lead to “watery diarrhea”. Wikipedia fails to note this, but does indicate that escolar, which also contains these wax esters, is sometimes marketed as orange roughy. (ironically, escolar is also sold as “white tuna”, thus confusing the people looking for albacore, as well)

    I guess the conclusion to this story is that any orange roughy you buy might not be the slow-growing deep-water fish, but rather something that may give you gastrointestinal problems instead. yay?

  2. Now THAT’S some powerful motivation to avoid orange roughy. Unless, I suppose, you’re in need of, um, powerful motivation…but probably there are cheaper options.

    (Also, I tried to figure out if escolar is ALSO a slow growing deep water fish, but quick ‘n’ dirty googling failed me.)

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