Deep Sea News’ Miriam Goldstein digs into Legal Seafood’s CEO Roger Berkowitz’s claim that the science behind blacklisting tiger shrimp, Atlantic cod, and hake is outdated and insufficient:
The only case of “outdated scientific findings” I could find was that Gulf of Maine cod is no longer classified as “overfished.” I personally would not feel guilty about eating locally caught Gulf of Maine cod cheeks (yum!), but would continue to attempt to avoid black tiger prawn and hake.
A little elaboration on the complicated cod situation, as researched by Miriam: Gulf of Maine Cod is no longer considered “overfished” by the National Marine Fisheries Service, but stocks are still severely depleted compared to historical levels and bottom trawling is undeniably damaging to benthic ecosystems. The fish served by Legal Seafood was hook-and-line caught – a better option.
The big picture is there’s often no clear-cut right or wrong answer – the point Legal Seafood was trying to make. But flaunting fisheries science and honest efforts to provide consumers with reasonable recommendations may or may not get that point across. From Miriam:
There are just less fish than there used to be. This means that we need pressure from consumers for effective management – people have to have the correct information about where their fish comes from, and to understand why they should care. Thumbing one’s nose at those no-fun fisheries scientists and environmentalists is not going to change the fact that fisheries are in serious trouble.