Seafood lovers concerned about sustainability may already be familiar with the popular Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch's pocket and mobile guides, which divide up fish caught in the United States into easy-to-follow "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and "Avoid" lists based on the management of the fisheries for each species, population data, and fishing methods. While helpful, these lists leave out a component also worth considering when making seafood choices: toxin levels and omega-3 levels.
But now there's a new list, dubbed "The Super Green List," which attempts to take all of these factors into account and boil them down to a "top 10" list. The fish that make this list have fewer than 216 parts per billion mercury and 11 parts per billion PCBs (a toxic byproduct of industrial activities), and yield at least 250 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per day based on a weekly consumption of eight ounces of fish per week. To put some of these numbers in perspective, according to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) study on mercury levels in commercial fish and shellfish, the worst offender, tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, has 1,450 parts per billion mercury, and one of the least offenders, anchovies, has 17 parts per billion. These fish also fall under the old list's "Best Choice" category.
"The Super Green List" attempts to combine the best of both worlds — establishing a connection between concern over the environment and health. Prior to the creation of this list, one would have had to cross-reference the Seafood Watch's old list with the FDA's study.