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21 West Coast Groundfish Taken Off "Fish To Avoid" List


The West Coast groundfish fishery was declared a federal disaster in 2000.

But improvements in management, habitat, and fishing gear have led to the recovery of overfished species.

The Seafood Watch program has upgraded 21 species of groundfish that had previously been listed as fish consumers should avoid eating.

Science Manager Santi Roberts says 84 percent of commercial groundfish landings earned a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” ranking.

“The effort has been to reduce the fishing pressures, reduce the catch of a lot of species," says Roberts. "As a result of those efforts we now see some improvements, a lot of improvements.”Roberts says consumers must still be vigilant to know if what they’re buying is sustainable.

“Something like 90 percent of the seafood that is consumed in the US is actually imported," says Roberts. "So it’s really key for businesses and consumers to ask the waiter, the retailer or suppliers what the actual source or the origin of the seafood is.” 

Some of the fish species that were upgraded include Dover sole, pacific sandabs, and rockfish, which are sometimes sold as pacific snapper. 

Amy Quinton

Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio