Searching for Sustainable Seafood? There's an App for That

Finding sustainable seafood is no easy task, but thanks to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, it just got a whole lot easier. Seafood Watch is responsible for the widespread pocket guide to seafood, and maintains a regularly updated comprehensive list of fish, rated on the sustainability of each species. Seafood Watch has now converted their pocket guide into a handy iPhone application, making it even easier for concerned consumers to stay informed and make sustainable food choices.

Seafood Watch is one of several organizations that aims to better educate  fish eaters about the global threat to many fish species. Their regional seafood guides separates fish into the categories of "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and "Avoid." These lists are generated according to variables like how the fish are harvested, threats posed by the fishery to the environment, the robustness of the population of the stock or species, the country of origin, and the levels of toxins present in the fish, among other stats.

The new Project FishMap App for iPhones (the app will soon to be available for other smartphones too) uses GPS technology and databases to go a few steps beyond the paper pocket guide. App users can not only easily access the pocket guide information about sustainable seafood, but can also contribute to a growing database tracking restaurants and vendors that offer more sustainable seafood options in a given region. In practice, if you're looking for the most sustainably sourced sushi in New York City, FishMap can help you find it in a flash. Furthermore, if you're in the midst of ordering sushi, you can use the app to check out the stats on the fish you're about to eat by searching either its English or Japanese name.

Seafood Watch has quickly jumped on the bandwagon of smartphone technology, and is a prime example of how such technology can be used in yet another meaningful way. By making it quick and easy for consumers to access the information needed to make ethical and sustainable food choices, as well as encouraging app users to track ocean-friendly retailers and restaurants, smartphone apps are really putting sustainable food on the map.

photo credit: blue eyed bride