Don't Feel Guilty for Eating These 21 Fish
Sustainability watchdog gives the OK to chow down on flounder, other species
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2014 6:51 AM CDT
Flounder makes Seafood Watch's list of fish to eat without guilt.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you've been plagued by guilt every time you scarf down that fried flounder, rest easy: A California sustainability-monitoring group has given a thumbs-up to that species, as well as 20 other West Coast varieties such as sole and snapper, after deciding there's enough available to catch without wreaking havoc on the environment. Seafood Watch, affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, upgraded the 21 species yesterday to the "Best Choice" or "Good Alternative" categories for eating after improved conservation efforts by fishermen, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The area studied by the group had received an "economic disaster" designation from the government in 2000 due to overfishing, notes the AP.

Before an improved fishery management law was put into effect in 2007, fisherman seeking groundfish—fish that live on or close to the sea bottom—were disrupting the ocean ecosystem by depleting the fish supply and damaging the ocean floor as they swept the waters with their giant nets, according to the Los Angeles Times. Now Seafood Watch finds that 84% of the groundfish caught off the West Coast qualify for the two best rankings on its list, thanks to more-focused fishing and keeping at-risk habitats intact. "This is one of the great success stories about ecological and economic recovery of a commercially important fishery," the chief of the aquarium's conservation efforts said in a statement.