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Lately, 6-oz. frozen filets of swordfish from CR, as well as Mahi Mahi from Ecuador and a few other species from elsewhere have appeared in my local market. US$4.99 each.

 

I've had both of the above and they were excellent. My question is, are these to be avoided (from the green/sustainability aspect as well as mercury levels in the swordfish?)

 

Anyone here up on this?

 

Thanks.

Edited by FredS
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I don't know about maui-mahi, but swordfish are heavily overfished generally and thus threatened. These are long-lived fish which don't reproduced early in life. In years past, swordfish weighed over 100 pounds when caught. Now, fish that large are a rarity. We've long since ceased to eat swordfish.

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Our Whole Foods had swordfish last weekend that were "harpooned" as opposed to caught via long lines in the same waters you mention. Better for the fish, less stress and better tasting, they claim.They are very large fish and Wholes Foods pays special attention to the points you bring up. The fish was wonderful but expensive, about $25/pound. So, not sure about your store, but we feel Whole Foods with there "Whole Trade" program does a good job on this as well as making sure the Costa Rica coffee we get was not picked by children.....same with Cacao and Pineapple.....

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Oh, please! Do you REALLY think that a swordfish that is killed with a harpoon is better off than a swordfish killed with a longline? That's like saying would you rather be shot or knifed. Dead is dead. The only difference is how the longline is handled. The problem with longlines is people who leave them out too long and have too much of a by-catch.

 

As for Whole Foods and their "Whole Trade" program: frankly, a lot of twaddle. Whatever assurances they give you about children working in the fields, it's all BS. Just like migrant family workers in the US - the whole family works. It's the only way some people -- and most of these workers are Nicaraguan immigrants -- can survive.

 

It's just like "Fair Trade" coffee. Meaningless.

 

If you are looking at swordfish that is $4.99 for a 6-oz filet, it might be swordfish --- it might not be! (That would make it something like $20 a pound which is reasonable price.)

 

Source: Me. I spent 15 years as a commercial fisherman.

 

Buying wild sustainable fish is difficult and you really do NOT know what you are getting. When I was a seafood dealer, I used to say that I could serve up a buffet of fried fish bits of various species and you would be hard-pressed to tell me what they were. Including "scallops" that are really rounds of sting-ray meat.

 

I have to laugh every time I go to the supermarket here and see tilapia from Viet Nam next to tilapia from Costa Rica. Which one would you choose?

 

There is no easy answer to "What kind of fish should I buy?"

Edited by eleanorcr
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It is troublesome.

 

Are you going to be the person that ate the last swordfish? Or are you the person who eats farm-raised fish with all its problems? No easy answer.

 

And, of course, the health of any fish has to do with the water it lives in so if you go fishing to catch a bass or whatever, how do you know the water is clean where you are fishing?

 

Where I live, I don't have much access to fresh fish other than tilapia. So I just eat tilapia and don't worry about it. (And yes, I also eat canned salmon -- but canned salmon from Chile and NOT from Alaska.)

 

And no, I never ever never eat ANY fish raw! Including shashimi, sushi or ceviche. Not when you've seen what I've seen.......

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Chile had a major problem with the farmed salmon a few years back when some disease wiped them all out because the fish farmers had been overdosing them on antibiotics, and they were no longer effective.

 

Sadly, when we left California, they had to stop commercial fishing off the coast due to the fact that certain species had been overfished so badly they were on the verge of extinction. The last salmon I had there was Chilean farmed salmon. When I was a kid, I would catch 2-3 foot silver salmon in the local river during the fall. That ended by the time I grew up and left.

 

Dana

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