Leave Your Rod and Reel at Home: Smart Shopping Tips for Buying Fresh Fish

Hubby is the fishing fanatic in our family, even though we all love to eat fresh fish and love it for it’s healthy as well as tasty properties. A good number of us who love fish; however, are also a bit confused as to what type of fish to buy and what to look out for before you put your catch into the shopping cart. If your husband is bringing home the fish, make sure HE does the cleaning though, and preferably when he catches it and not in your kitchen! (Have you ever tried to clean fish scales off the countertop, the walls, the floor? Those things stick like glue!)


If you want to know more about the health benefits of fish and other related issues, visit thealternativedaily.com for more information. If you want to know what fish to buy and which ones to avoid, for a variety of different reasons, here is a look at how you can make the right decisions when going shopping for a fish to eat.

It’s Not Just About Taste

When you are considering the type of fish that you want to buy to eat, it is not just a case of deciding which one looks the most appealing and which type appeals to your taste buds in particular.

You may well prefer salmon to tuna or enjoy the taste of mackerel, but there are wider issues that might influence your purchasing decision, such as how the fish was caught and there are sustainability and environmental factors to consider too.

Ideally, what you are looking for is a fish that tastes great, as well as being healthy for you and the planet. That might sound like a tall order, but with a bit of background knowledge and taking the time to read the product label for clues, you should be able to tick most, if not all, of the right boxes.

Atlantic Mackerel Covers the Sustainability Angle

A good fish to start with on the list is Atlantic mackerel. This particular is known as a fast-growing species, which is important as it means that stock levels are considered to be sustainable, due to the fact that they tend to repopulate at a decent and sustainable rate.

As mackerel are able to withstand a higher amount of fishing without impacting on their stock levels in a major way, it does represent a decent choice if you are a shopper who has understandable concerns relating to sustainability.

Another positive point that is worth pointing out, is the fact that commercial fishing methods used to catch Atlantic mackerel are considered to be efficient. This is a very relevant point, as it means that mackerel fishing activity is less likely to impact on the ocean habitat that this species lives in.

Having ticked all the right boxes on environmental and sustainability issues, the good news is that Atlantic mackerel is a good heart-healthy choice, as it is a source of omega-3 a well as delivering a good source of protein in each portion.

Superfood Sardines Are An Inexpensive Option for Your Plate

If you specifically look out for wild-caught Pacific sardines, you will be buying a fish that is inexpensive to buy, but packs a punch in terms of flavor and health benefits. Much as I have tried to learn to love sardines, I just can’t.

These sardines are good at repopulating quickly, so stocks are considered to be sustainable. Another good reason why sardines have made it onto the list of superfoods is the fact that if you compare a 3-ounce serving of these sardines and look at the omega-3 content, it delivers more on that score than tuna, salmon and just about any other food that you want to compare it to, plus it is naturally high in vitamin D as well.

There was a point about 80 years ago where there was a noticeable collapse in stock levels, which was compounded by overfishing, but sardines are thankfully back in big numbers and back on the plates of many who don’t just enjoy the taste, but who also appreciate its superfood attributes.

Put That Back

If you want the names of a few species of fish that various environmental organizations have flagged as fish to avoid for sustainability reasons and health reasons, here are some species that have been highlighted as no-go items in your shopping cart.

Bluefin tuna is an endangered species according to the World Wildlife Fund and Seafood Watch is another organization that has sought to raise awareness about its fight for survival. Add in the consideration that the Bluefin tuna has been flagged as a species that potentially contains high levels of mercury and PCBs, makes this a type of tuna to say no to.

You might also want to reconsider buying Atlantic wild halibut, as this is a species that matures at a very slow rate, which makes it vulnerable to overfishing issues.

There is no reason why you can’t enjoy a tasty and healthy fish meal, but it is worth taking a second glance at what you are buying, so that you are happy that it meets your environmental, health and sustainability concerns, before adding it to the cart.

Hollie Barry is a poissonnier, that’s a fish chef in ordinary language. She works in a seafood restaurant and enjoys sharing her knowledge on how to choose and prepare fish to enjoy at home. Her articles appear on food/recipe sites as well as lifestyle blogs.

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