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How to Eat Fish With a Clear Conscience: What to Buy and What to Avoid

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Bad news for blue fin tuna lovers — it might not be as sustainable as you think
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Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Providence chef Michael Cimarusti offers recommendations on what seafood to eat and which are not sustainable.

There are plenty of popular seafood items on menus across the country that just aren’t sustainable right now, which means they’re either overfished or they’re caught or farmed in ways that harm the environment or other marine life. Yet we continue to eat them.

Ignorance may be bliss, but knowing what fish you can eat with a good conscience versus what’s on the brink of extinction is key to helping both the environment and species that are on the “red list” — or those to avoid.

It starts with seafood eaters doing their part. Educate yourself, make good decisions and encourage others to do the same. Start with this guide from chef Michael Cimarusti, chef-owner of Providence and Connie and Ted’s, two of the best seafood restaurants in Los Angeles.

Bluefin tuna ‘is definitely a fish we should avoid’

Let’s start with a big one — the one Cimarusti called “the poster child” for a fish that’s widely available and yet completely unsustainable.

Bluefin is in almost every fine sushi restaurant and Japanese market that you see — but the fish is on the brink of collapse.

“For every 100 bluefin that once swam in the Pacific, there are now 3.6 fish left,” Cimarusti said. “And they are still being harvested.”

But all’s not lost for tuna lovers: There are other, more sustainable options such as yellowfin, bigeye, albacore, blackfin and bonito.

“The answer is not to never eat tuna again,” Cimarusti said. “The answer is to focus on other species.”

Related

Read more other fish to buy or avoid on LA Times.