If you’re one of those people who is annoyed by restaurant texters, thumbs madly pumping away on their phone while they ignore the others at their table, relax. They may be saving the ocean.
The Blue Ocean Institute has launched FishPhone the first sustainable seafood text messaging service. Embracing technology, Blue Ocean understands where the important decisions are made: in front of the menu. How often, when you’re in the whirl of a spectacular evening out, can you recall the specifics of your eco-training? Especially with seafood, a vast arena of eating that fluctuates with seasons and trends. No one can memorize the status of the thousands of sea critters.
Enter the text. Simply send a text to 30644 with the message FISH followed by the name of the species you’d like to research. They’ll send you a text back with that species status: Green, Yellow, or Red.
I sent FISH lingcod and received this: caught off US West Coast (YELLOW) some environmental concerns; bottom trawling damages habitat; HEALTH ADVISORY: High Mercury. … at this point I might choose to find out if the restaurant knows how the fish was caught, many chefs won’t buy anything trawl caught.
When I tried to check out branzino: Sorry, we haven’t reviewed that species yet. Be sure to check spelling. We continually add species to our database so check back often! … Branzino is actually just the Italian name for European Sea Bass which is pretty common and well-regulated.
For monkfish: (YELLOW) some environmental concerns; try US farmed catfish, US farmed rainbow trout, or US farmed tilapia instead … I like the recommendations, but you’re out of luck if they’re not offered on the menu.
Additionally, for those with web-enabled devices, you can download Blue Ocean’s Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood from fishphone.org.