Sustainable sushi guides coming soon

Three new guides on how to make healthy, sustainable sushi choices will be available to consumers and seafood lovers later this month, according to a spokesman for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The aquarium, the Blue Ocean Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund are releasing the guides to rank popular sushi on whether the seafood has been caught or farmed in ways that harm the ocean, or if the fish poses a health risk.

"It was a collaboration from the beginning," aquarium spokesman Ken Peterson said of the joint venture. All of the organizations had been thinking about releasing a guide, and each group contributed research to the project.

Each organization is releasing its own guide because each has a slightly different lens through which it looks at the issue, Peterson said. The Environmental Defense Fund dedicates more time to human health issues and the Blue Ocean Institute is focused on environmental considerations, but all of the guides are based on the same underlying research.

"There are subtle variations, but the message is pretty consistent across the board," Peterson said.

Some sushi favorites, like bluefin tuna and freshwater eel are on the do not eat list because the species are either over fished, farmed with methods that pollute the ocean, or caught using methods that destroy ocean habitats and occupants, according to the guides.

Other items like wild-caught Alaska salmon, farmed scallops and Pacific halibut are more sustainable choices and received a favorable rating.

Fish that contain high levels of mercury of PCBs that may pose a health risk are also flagged, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

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