The ultimate fishing guide

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Knowing what to look for when shopping for fish can be easy. Matt Watson is a New Zealand sensation with his hit program, "The Ultimate Fishing Show." Nick Smith caught up with him at Pier 7 in San Francisco for a little one-on-one and easy to remember tips.

Learn how to eat sustainable seafood and what species to look for in the market or when out to dinner.

Sustainable seafood choices from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Latest changes to the guide, as of July include:

  • Salmon (CA, OR, WA wild) was removed due to sustainability issues leading to closure of California fishery

New contaminant advisories:

  • Salmon, wild-caught from WA was issued a consumption advisory by Environmental Defense Fund due to elevated levels of PCBs.
  • Marlin, Striped, moved from Good Alternative to Avoid and now appears on all pocket guide versions, along with blue marlin. A recent stock assessment shows that the striped marlin population in the Pacific has declined dramatically.

Hawaii recommendation changes:

  • Marlin, Blue/Nairagi (imported) was added as Avoid. This was done to differentiate this fish from the blue marlin caught in the Hawaiian fishery, which is recommended as a Good Alternative.

Best fish choices are those that are abundant, well-managed and farmed or caught in environmentally-friendly ways. The best Bay Area choices include:

  • Abalone (farmed)
  • Barramundi (US farmed)
  • Catfish (US farmed)
  • Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed)
  • Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)
  • Crab: Dungeness
  • Halibut: Pacific
  • Lobster: Spiny (US)
  • Pollock (Alaska wild)
  • Rockfish: Black (CA, OR)
  • Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska , BC)
  • Salmon (Alaska wild)
  • Sardines
  • Scallops: Bay (farmed)
  • Shrimp: Pink (OR)
  • Spot Prawn (BC)
  • Striped Bass (farmed)
  • Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)
  • Tilapia (US farmed)
  • Trout: Rainbow (farmed)
  • Tuna: Wild Pacific Albacore (US troll-caught in low-impact method using small, barbless hooks, in ocean off
  • Washington, Oregon and Calif.)
  • Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)

Good alternatives are OK, but there may be concerns with the way they are caught or their habitats may be impacted by humans in some way.

Good choices include:

  • Basa, Swai (farmed)
  • Clams, Oysters* (wild)
  • Cod: Pacific (trawled)
  • Crab: King (Alaska), Snow, Imitation
  • Dogfish (BC)*
  • Flounders, Soles (Pacific)
  • Lingcod*
  • Lobster: American/Maine
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)
  • Rockfish (Alaska, BC hook & line)
  • Sablefish/Black Cod (CA, OR, WA)
  • Sanddabs: Pacific
  • Scallops: Sea (Canada and Northeast)
  • Shrimp (US farmed or wild)
  • Spot Prawn (US)
  • Squid
  • Sturgeon (OR, WA wild)
  • Swordfish (US longline)*

Avoid these fish for now, as they're caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment:

  • Chilean Seabass/Toothfish*
  • Cod: Atlantic
  • Crab: King (imported)
  • Dogfish (US)*
  • Grenadier/Pacific Roughy
  • Lobster: Spiny (Caribbean imported)
  • Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy*
  • Rockfish (trawled)
  • Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*
  • Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)
  • Sharks*
  • Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)
  • Sturgeon*, Caviar (imported wild)
  • Swordfish(imported)*
  • Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (longline)*
  • Tuna: Bluefin*
*Indicates mercury concerns

About Matt Watson:
Part avid outdoorsman, part conservationist, part daredevil stuntman and all-round passionate fisherman, Matt Watson has popularized fishing, bringing it to millions via dazzling underwater footage from stunning locations from around the world, all shot by free divers.Matt picked up his first rod at age 3 and went on to become one of New Zealand's most successful commercial fishermen. After several years writing for fishing magazines, Matt decided TV was the best medium to communicate fishing's most compelling, exciting and rewarding moments: the heart-stopping sensation of a fish engulfing the bait and the sight of a huge broadbill swordfish leaping in the moonlight. Matt formed a production company, Tightlines Television, and in 2004 launched the now-wildly popular television program, The Fishing Show, in New Zealand. Matt's work reaches millions worldwide on the Internet, and in June 2008, America One-affiliated TV stations launched the U.S. version of Matt's program, The Ultimate Fishing Show, on stations across the US.

Matt is dedicated to fishing the oceans sustainably and participates in scientific research programs to catch, tag and release marine life in order to research and monitor its movements.

The Ultimate Fishing Show
Thursdays, 8pm PST

Celebrity TV fisherman Matt Watson, whose vivid photography, passionate storytelling and daredevil stunts have inspired legions of people to grab a line and learn to fish, is heading to Alaska to fish for sustainable wild Alaskan salmon, accessing remote streams via helicopter, for Watson's new TV program, The Ultimate Fishing Show.

For more information on celebrity fisherman Matt Watson and to find out where The Ultimate Fishing Show is airing near you, visit www.theultimatefishingshow.com.

To watch a video of Matt leaping from a helicopter into the ocean and tackling a giant marlin with his bare hands, click here.

For more information on sustainable seafood choices check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's sustainable seafood guide at www.seafoodwatch.org, or if you're dining out, you can check the best seafood choices on your cell phone at mobile.seafoodwatch.org.

To learn about one of the top sustainable seafood choices in the Bay Area, troll-caught Wild -Pacific Albacore, go to pacificalbacore.com.


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