Nothing Fishy: Getting Better Acquainted with Sustainable Fish Varieties

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

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With Make a Difference Monday being held every Monday this semester, the dining hall along with BU Sustainability have created more delicious, original, sustainable recipes. One of the main goals of Make a Difference Monday is to replace foods with large carbon-footprints, like red meat, with sustainable protein options. As a result, many of these new recipes will feature fish, specifically Pacific Cod, MSC-Certified Muscles, and Wild from Maine Atlantic Redfish. At the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, we believe in the importance of being informed about what you eat. So, before you take a bite, here are some brief descriptions of the fish you’ll be eating.


Pacific Cod

Cousin to Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod is just as versatile, but softer and more delicate. If you’re a little wary about eating fish, Pacific Cod is a great one to try.

What makes it sustainable? According to the New England Aquarium, Pacific Cod populations are “well-managed” and not in current danger of being over-fished. They are caught using bottom longline gear and pots, which are environmentally friendly methods that cause very minimal habitat destruction and help to keep the populations healthy.

Want to cook it at home? When picking out Pacific Cod, choose whiter fillets over greyer fillets for optimal freshness.

“Endangered Species and Habitats.” Pacific Cod and Its Sustainability. New England Aquarium, May 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2013, from


MSC-Certified Mussels

Mussels are a favorite among many due to their sweet taste and tender texture. There are many varieties of muscles, including the popular blue muscles, which are found in the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US.

What makes it sustainable? MSC stands for the Marine Stewardship Council, a program that sets standards for labeling fish as sustainable. An MSC sticker insures that the fish you are eating can be traced back to sustainable fishing practices. For the full list of standards and certification requirements click HERE.

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Want to cook it at home? In addition to choosing muscles that are MSC-certified, its important to choose ones whose shells are tightly closed or that snap shut when you tap them. This indicates that they are both alive and edible.

“Mussels.” MSC. Marine Stewardship Council, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <>.


Wild from Maine Atlantic Redfish

Also known as Acadian redfish, Maine Atlantic Redfish is a firm, white-fleshed fish that is available year-round.

What makes it sustainable? Strict regulations keep Acadian redfish from being over-harvested. Additionally there are now fishing gear restrictions.

What to cook it at home? The key to Maine Atlantic Redfish is to prepare it soon after purchasing because it spoils faster than many other fish.

“Acadian Redfish.” NOAA FishWatch, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <>.


Want More Information?

While fish are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, not all of them are as safe or sustainable as others. Be sure to check out our review of the Seafood Watch App – an app that tells you which fish are safest to consume — to become an informed consumer.






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