New iPhone App Helps Consumers Find Ethically Sourced Seafood

Seafood Watch is taking the guesswork out of finding sustainable seafood.  Now anyone with an iPhone can download a free app that lets consumers know the ethical status of the seafood they are purchasing, and also lists restaurants and markets known to use ethically sourced seafood.

Seafood Watch, run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, maintains a complex list of seafood sorted into the categories “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives” and “Avoid.” Criteria such as country of origin, methods of catching, use of eco-friendly farming techniques and current conservation status all help to determine the categorization. Unfortunately, buying sustainable seafood is not as simple as remembering “always buy wild” or “Pacific is better.” Pocket Guides are available to assist wary consumers in making the best choices as they shop and dine out, but the newest version of Seafood Watch's iPhone app puts this information in easier reach and goes beyond recommendations.

New Features
Dubbed “Project FishMap,” this innovative new app feature allows consumers to add ocean-friendly restaurants and markets to the app database, thereby expanding the resources for finding local sustainable seafood. Users will need to create a special free account to use this feature, so Seafood Watch can avoid spam or deceptive recommendations.  The app uses the iPhone's GPS system to tailor suggestions to the consumer's region and allows consumers to search by seafood type or market name to find the best ethically sourced seafood in their area. When purchasing sushi, iPhone users can search by either common name or Japanese name.

Another notable feature of this iPhone app is  access to the “Super Green” list, which includes seafood from the “Best Choices” list that also has the lowest level of contaminents and the highest levels of omega 3's. By using the “Super Green” list, consumers can be sure they are getting seafood that benefits both the oceans health and their own.

Seafood Watch for Other Smartphones
Currently the Seafood Watch and Project FishMap app is only available for iPhone, but the Seafood Watch website claims an Android app will be available sometime in 2011. Although there is not yet a Seafood Watch app for other smartphones such as the Droid, non-iPhone users can still access the Seafood Watch mobile website to find sustainable seafood recommendations on-the-go. The mobile website does not offer the Project FishMap feature, but does have access to the “Best Choices” and “Avoid” lists.

Photo Credit:  larryjh1234