Discovering Sustainably Raised Seafood Starts Here
Dr. Chris Anderson is a Professor of Fisheries Economics at the University of Washington and also the Research Director of TFF. For three consecutive years prior to the pandemic, he held blind tastings of farmed vs wild salmon in his graduate class. We sat down with him to discuss his findings, and the results might surprise you!Read More
We spoke with NOAA Director of Aquaculture to discuss the direction, opportunity, and public concern of developing a stronger aquaculture industry in the US.Read More
TFF sat down with Jennifer Bushman to discuss how aquaculture done properly has the potential to really succeed in the US. Working with many industry folks she provided us with a wide array of information.Read More
We spoke with the Executive Director at the Western Regional Aquaculture Center to learn more about aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest and how developments have improved over the years.Read More
Cover topics we research on environmental impacts, feed usage, fish escapement, and widespread advancements in aquaculture, and discover further resources! Find out how to cook sumptuous farmed fish recipes and where to buy sustainable product!
Offshore farms sited in deeper waters, where ocean currents flush away any possible contaminants from the farms are starting to become a realization in the US with the west coast leading the way. Hawaii and California are two great examples of this sustainable practice.Read More
Taking fish farming out of the water and on to land, RAS systems provide year round responsible protein across the country in an almost 100% renewable way. The Midwest has exemplified how sustainable this practice can be with barramundi coming out of Iowa and salmon out of IndianaRead More
Wastewater is pumped through treatment systems that clean and re-filter circulated water before returning it to the fish tanks. These recirculating systems can be built on land, allowing farming to take place all across the country. Compared to other raceways, RAS aquaculture has less wastewater and overall water requirements. This type of farming also eliminates risks associated with environmental harm to ocean habitats. A wide variety of species grows well in these tanks such as arctic char, salmon, trout, bass, and sturgeon.
These pens are situated in coastal waters and allow fish to grow in an open ocean environment. Species such as salmon, trout, and tilapia are farmed using this method as it applies to both saltwater species as well as freshwater species. Nets pens are anchored to the bottom and allows for water to freely flow through them. Pens are typically constructed from welded steel pipes, heavy duty rubber hinges, and mesh/net screens.
These cages differ from open-net pens, as they are submersible cages in deeper water farther off the coast. With stronger oceans currents the farther out you go, water is filtered out and diluted more easily than with open-net pens. Offshore cages are attached to the sea floor and to buoys on the water’s surface. Species such as kanpachi, cobia, sablefish, and bass do well in off-shore cages. These cages are typically stronger than open-net pens, and continually becoming more secure as newer technology develops.
Sometimes referred to as “flow-through” systems, raceways can be inside or outside and are highly advantageous in allowing for easy fish monitoring and feeding. This system consists of long basins with continuous water flow to farm freshwater species like trout and tilapia. Incoming water is maintained at the appropriate temperature and salinity for the species being farmed. Raceways are most often constructed from concrete or pollster resin.
So, you’ve come to the conclusion that farmed fish can totally be sustainable, and you’re ready to go to the grocery store to purchase some for dinner – now comes the daunting task of trying to remember which farming methods are better than others, which species have minimal environmental impact, and which sellers you should be buying from! With great resources from trusted organizations, this information is accessible – to make it even easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the most sustainably farmed fish species based on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s guidelines. Next time you’re at the grocery store, just pull up this table and have your pick!
Setting the bar for sustainability, Monterey Bay Aquarium considers 10 different criteria and provides each species a ranking on a scale of 0-10 (0 is poor quality and 10 is high quality). You can check out their full list of farmed and wild fish recommendations worldwide here but we’ve compiled a list of US farmed fin fish species to make it easy for you!
|Arctic Char||Raceway||Cascade Aqua Farms|
|Sunshine Bass||Pond||Ekstrom Aquaculture, Nature's Catch|
|Sunshine Bass||Tank||Colorado Catch, Kent Sea Tech|
|Channel Catfish||Pond||America's Catch, Carolina Classics, Haring Catfish, Harvest Select|
|Red Drum||Pond||Ekstrom Aquaculture|
|Siberian Sturgeon||RAS||Health Earth, Sturgeon Aqua Farms|
|White Sturgeon||Raceway||Fish Breeders of Idaho,|
|White Sturgeon||Tank||Sterling Caviar, Tsar Nicoulai|
|Rainbow Trout||Raceway||Blue Stream Aquaculture, Clear Spring Foods, E&J Fish Farm, Liley Fisheries, Sunburst Trout|
|Rainbow Trout||Pond||Jeramiah’s Bullfrog Fish Farm, Mt Lassen Trout, Plymouth Springs Fish Co|
|Rainbow Trout||Net Pen||Manna Fish Farms|
|Rainbow Trout||RAS||Superior Fresh|
Based outside of Bellingham WA, Vital Choice Seafoods focuses on sourcing extremely well and educating their consumers with great transparent information about their sourcing and post-harvest practices listed within each product description. While they source outside of local fisheries, their strict criteria provide confidence in some of the trickier seafoods, like their handline yellowfin tuna from Indonesia or their wild artisan blue shrimp from Mexico. Also a good place for fun fancy items like smoked black cod. With frozen home delivery service, the only downside is the price. You do have the option to pick up at their HQ in Ferndale, WA. *The link above gets you 5% discount and free shipping.
This campaign is funded by NOAA Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative grant R/SFA/N-8, led by the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. The research team has engaged select US-based farmed fish producers who have made in-kind contributions in the form of their time answering interview questions about their practices, and providing photo resources credited throughout the website.