In a moment of what is best described as “parental weakness,” I made the mistake of promising my precocious four year old that once he had his shots he could go to Red Lobster, not sustainable fish. Seduced by the cartoonish bright logo lobster, those claws had sunk deep into the marketing savvy yet impressionable mind of my preschooler.
We passed the sign frequently; but as a general rule I try to avoid national chain restaurants for my family’s (and the planet’s) well being. Please note I said “general rule,” I am not claiming perfection. He asked often. And one day I just broke. I had no idea that the lure of of the sea would actually bring on boosters the next time he accompanied his baby sister for her well-checkup.
But it happened. He got poked, and I was left to honor my word. And so we went: me feeling odd and uncomfortable about the entire situation (so of course I had to Instagram it!); but armed with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch page on my iPhone to help me pick an option beyond those delectable yet hedonistic cheddar bay biscuits.
Overreacting you say? An article in the Daily Green sums it up best: “Our responsibility of choosing the best fish is twofold. Apart from dealing with the dangers of overfishing and the possibility of a future with empty oceans, we also have to worry about protecting our health and avoiding contaminated fish with unhealthy concentrations of mercury, PCBs and dioxins …These contaminants pose a health risk, especially to woman who are pregnant or nursing and children.”
The Good News on Sustainable Fish
The good news is, technology has made it easier than ever to help us know what lies under the sea that will have the least impact on Mother Earth and be the safest choices to avoid toxins and contaminates for our families. Through our Red Lobster experience, I discovered Seafood Watch actually has an App available for download on iPhone and Android which comes in handy especially while grocery shopping. As a general rule, I know to avoid Atlantic Salmon, but beyond that I’m at a loss. I’ll save everyone the word count from trying to name all the swimmers and shellfish safe for consumption and recommend instead to check out The Daily Green’s Sustainable Fish Guide or download a printable consumer pocket guide from Seafood Watch for ease in decision making.
And that my friends, is the Dish on Fish.
photo credit: Davide Cantelli
I appreciate your POV on chain restaurants, and I’m glad you discovered the fish eating guidelines–thanks for the tip on the app! Please also know that another good reason to not patronize RL, is that they purchase fish that is caught off the coast of Canada. These and other fish species make up the food source that Harp Seals feed on. If you’re familiar with the violence and horror involved in the yearly seal slaughter, then please be aware that Red Lobster contributes to the cruelty by supporting the fisherman that advocate the slaughter.
Thank you so much for the feedback Dana. And I’m sorry for my delayed response. I read your comments back in October and was so thankful for the feedback. We have not made it back to Red Lobster since the “shot incident” and don’t have plans to.
Your son is so cute! And this was fascinating, so thanks for sharing the sustainable fish guide!