Choosing Sustainable Seafood: A Guide to Local, Seasonal Fish in NYC

Images of fish Bushwick Bites. Choosing Sustainable Seafood: A Guide to Local, Seasonal Fish in NYC

As a registered dietitian and food writer, I am keenly aware of the importance of making informed choices when it comes to selecting seafood. Living in New York City presents a wide range of options, but it’s essential to consider not only the taste but also the sustainability and nutritional value of the fish you consume. By choosing local, seasonal fish, you can support the local fishing industry while contributing to a healthier planet and benefiting from the nutritional advantages of the seafood.

First, let’s discuss what’s in season. During the winter months, Atlantic cod is a popular choice due to its mild flavor and versatility in cooking. It is an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and essential minerals such as phosphorus and selenium. As the weather warms up, black sea bass and porgy emerge as suitable alternatives because of their sweet and delicate flavors. Black sea bass is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain and heart health, while porgy is rich in protein, vitamin D, and minerals like magnesium and potassium.

When selecting fish, there are several factors to consider. First, look for sustainable fishing methods, such as hook and line or small-scale fishing. Avoid fish that’s been caught using trawling or dredging, which can harm the environment. Don’t hesitate to ask your fishmonger about the origins of the fish and the methods employed to catch it. By doing so, you are promoting transparency and supporting responsible fishing practices.

Second, pay attention to labeling on the fish. Look for labels like MSC or Seafood Watch, which indicate that the fish has been certified as sustainable. If the fish is not labeled, ask your fishmonger for more information. Choosing sustainably sourced fish helps ensure the health of our oceans and marine ecosystems for future generations.

In addition to these general guidelines, I would like to recommend three must-try seafood options that are both sustainable and delicious:

  1. Wild Alaskan Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and high-quality protein, wild Alaskan salmon is a flavorful and nutritious choice. Caught using sustainable methods, it’s an environmentally responsible option that is available fresh or frozen year-round.
  2. Atlantic Mackerel: Often underrated, Atlantic mackerel is another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. With its bold flavor, it pairs well with strong seasonings and can be grilled, broiled, or pan-seared. Be sure to look for sustainably caught mackerel, such as those caught using handlines or purse seines.
  3. Farmed Oysters: As filter feeders, oysters actually help to clean the water in which they’re raised, making them an eco-friendly choice. They are also rich in zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. Enjoy them raw on the half shell, grilled, or baked to experience their unique briny flavor and smooth texture.

By choosing local, seasonal, and sustainably sourced fish, you are making a positive impact on the environment while enjoying the delicious and nutritious benefits that seafood has to offer.

by Scott Keatley