Among the most treasured aspects of Virginia Beach’s coastal locale are our amazing dining options. Fresh catch abounds here, with healthy seafood always on the menu. But eating for your health is just the beginning—the health of our oceans also depends on your eco-friendly seafood choices. Beyond our shores, fishing practices worldwide are damaging our oceans, depleting fish populations and destroying habitats. You can help by choosing eco-friendly seafood.
The Sensible Seafood program, developed by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and regional seafood experts, helps you turn the tide by making sustainable seafood choices that promote a healthy marine environment.
Some seafood choices are over-fished or are caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. Sustainable, eco-friendly seafood comes from fisheries and farms that have healthy populations and are harvested in an environmentally friendly way and can continue to produce into the future without negative impact on their populations or natural ecosystems.
At the table and the market, we can be good stewards of the environment by making the right choices. Consult this list of choices to help save our oceans and sea life. Fish and shellfish on the green list are harvested or grown in an environmentally friendly manner. Yellow indicates there may be some issues regarding a species, such as accidental catch of turtles or other marine animals. And the red items are best avoided – at least for the time being. Keep in mind that seafood may occur in more than one column based on how it is caught, where it is from, etc. Be sure to read all columns and check labels and ask questions when shopping or eating out.
The Virginia Beach Restaurant Association endorses the program, and participating restaurants carry the Sensible Seafood symbol on their menus.
See all Restaurants offering Sustainable Seafood in Virginia Beach
Abundant, well-managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.
Barramundi (US farmed)Catfish (US farmed)Clams, Mussels, Oysters (farmed)Cod: Pacific (Alaska longline)Crab: Dungeness StoneCrayfish (US farmed)Croaker: Atlantic*Halibut: PacificHerring: Atlantic/SardinesLobster: Spiny (US)Mackerel: King*, Spanish*Mahi Mahi (US Atlantic troll/pole)Mullet: StripedPollock (Alaska wild)Salmon (Alaska wild)Scallops: Bay (farmed)Striped Bass (farmed or wild*)Sturgeon, Caviar (farmed)Tilapia (US farmed)Trout: Rainbow (farmed)Tuna: Albacore (BC, US troll/pole)Tuna: Skipjack (troll/pole)Wreckfish
*May need to limit consumption due to health concerns.www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/advisories/2006/index.htmlwww.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm
Despite some concerns with how they are caught or farmed, or with the health of their habitat due to other human impacts, these are options to consider when Best Choices are unavailable.
Basa/Tra/Swai (farmed)Black Sea BassBluefishClams, Oysters* (wild)Cod: Pacific (trawled)Crab: Blue*, King (Alaska), SnowCrab: Imitation/SurimiHaddock (pole)Lobster: American/MaineMahi mahi/Dolphinfish (US)Scallops: SeaShrimp (US farmed or wild)Snapper: Gray, Lane, Mutton*, Yellowtail (US)SquidSwordfish* (US longline)Tilapia (C. America, S. America farmed)Tilefish (Mid-Atlantic)Tuna: Bigeye, Yellowfin (troll/pole)Tuna: canned light, canned white/Albacore*Wahoo*
*May need to limit consumption due to health concerns. www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/advisories/2006/index.htmlwww.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm
At least for now, these choices are overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.
Chilean Seabass/Toothfish*Cod: AtlanticConch: QueenCrab: King (imported)Flounder, Sole (Atlantic)Groupers*Halibut: AtlanticLobster: Spiny (Caribbean imported)Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish (imported)MonkfishOrange Roughy*Pompano: FloridaSalmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*Sharks*Shrimp (imported farmed or wild)SkatesSnapper: Red*, Vermilion (US)Snapper (imported)Sturgeon*, Caviar (imported wild)Swordfish (imported)*Tilefish (southeast)*Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (longline)*Tuna: Bluefin*
*May need to limit consumption due to health concerns.
Buying locally caught seafood that is harvested responsibly both helps support the local economy and ensures that you eat the freshest seafood. Regionally caught species such as croaker, striped bass (also called rockfish), wild-caught shrimp, in-season blue crab and hard clams are Virginia’s best seafood choices.
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