Nutritional Considerations and Environmental Impacts of Eating Seafood in San Diego

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October 8, 2018

Smoked, grilled, fried, roasted, poached, or raw, seafood is one of the most versatile proteins to prepare and your best source of those heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

From salmon to sea bass, wild-caught or farmed, it’s never been easier to embrace a low-carbon lifestyle and eat local, fresh-off-the-boat fish in San Diego.

Community-supported fisheries and restaurants are coming in hot, so find a local fishmonger for first dibs on what’s biting from North County to Baja.

Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

TYPES OF LOCAL SEAFOOD

Shrimp and oysters from Baja, California king salmon (seasonally), white sea bass, herring, red snapper, varieties of tuna including Pacific blue-fin, squid, crab, lobster, mackerel, and halibut are all locally sourced in the waters off of San Diego.

NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

This high-protein, mineral-rich food has a rightful place in a well-balanced diet.

Though each breed yields brain-body benefits, zinc, iron, and omega-3s (the essential “good” fats humans don’t produce on their own) rank at the top. Opt for seasonal, low-mercury fish two to three times a week, and limit your consumption of high-mercury fish to no more than 12 ounces per week, according to the USDA.

Tuna Harbor Dockside Market
Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Fish populations, water pollution, and habitat degradation are all real concerns in our marine environments. Understanding where your fish is coming from, what your local fish stock is, and how it was caught will not only yield better-tasting fillets, but will also contribute to a necessary sustainable seafood movement.

While some large-capacity commercial vessels, known as trawlers, practice sustainable fishing, small-scale fishermen leave only the slightest trace, employing smaller boats and lower-impact methods like hook and line (literally catching one fish at a time).

So what’s the most sustainable seafood on the market? While abundance varies with the seasons, try Pacific-bound, feel-good varieties like shrimp, oysters, yellowtail tuna, halibut, and Pacific snapper.

BUYING TIPS

Over the past seven years, fisherman, diver, surfer, and restaurateur John Park of Fish 101 has been sourcing high-flavor, low-impact fish for his sustainable seafood eatery by way of local, hook-and-line fishermen. If you can’t make it to his Leucadia-based restaurant, use John’s tips to ensure you get the freshest catch every time.

Look for the country of origin: Consumer law regulated by the USDA requires all commercial retailers to label wild and farm-raised fish with country of origin labeling (COOL).

Look for FAS (Frozen at Sea): This designation means strict adherence to quality, assuring the fish is as fresh as the moment it left the sea.

Know your Local Fish: Talk to a local fishmonger or do a little Googling for a calendar of what’s biting when. White sea bass, halibut, yellowtail, and bluefin tuna are rotating favorites.

Catalina Offshore Products

LOCAL RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

Local Seafood Markets

Catalina Offshore Products

Morena, San Diego

Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Harbour, Downtown San Diego

Deckman’s en el Mogor
Deckman’s en el Mogor

Sustainable Seafood Restaurants

Fish 101

Encinitas

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub

Oceanside

The Land & Water Co.

Carlsbad

Harney Sushi

Old Town San Diego & Oceanside

Mitch’s Seafood

Point Loma, San Diego

Deckman’s en el Mogor (worth crossing the border for)

Ensenada, Baja California, MX

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