Environmental Claims For Farmed Fish Don't Hold Up To Scrutiny

Publication: NPR

Author: Jordan Calmes

12/08/2011 - A study released this week by the University of Victoria's Seafood Ecology Research Group found that most eco-labels on farmed seafood don't reflect better fish farming practices than other products on the market.

With farmed fish, as with other foods, "there's a tendency to assume that if something has an eco-label, it must be a better choice," John Volpe, the study's lead author, tells The Salt. His results show that's not necessarily true, and that there's a lot of room for improvement across the board.


For Volpe's study, he chose 20 different sets of standards, or labels, for 11 farmed marine fish — Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon and grouper among them — and graded them using the Global Aquaculture Performance Index. The standards he evaluated included Whole Foods, the Global Aquaculture Alliance, and Friend of the Sea.

Rather than establishing a new definition of "environmentally friendly" for the purpose of the study, SERG translated two well-established seafood guides into the GAPI system: the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide and the Blue Ocean Institute's seafood guide. Both code green for best choices, yellow for good alternatives, and red for seafood to be avoided.

Read the full article, Environmental Claims For Farmed Fish Don't Hold Up To Scrutiny, on NPR's food blog, The Salt.

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