Culture

Published on July 24th, 2008 | by robinshreeves

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Sustainable Seafood Information at Your Fingertips via FishPhone

Sydney's Chinatown Fish Market

I only started eating seafood regularly about two years ago. Shortly after I started to add it to my diet, I learned that I needed to be concerned about two things – mercury in the seafood and the environmental impact of how seafood is caught or farmed.

Those concerns have put a serious damper on my new seafood habit. Until today that is. Today I discovered FishPhone from the Blue Ocean Institute. It’s a text message service that allows you to text Fishphone the name of the seafood that you are considering and receive a text message back with information about that particular seafood.

I decided to give it a try following the directions on their website which are:

To find out about your seafood choice, text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question. We’ll text you back with our assessment and better alternatives to fish with significant environmental concerns.

I texted “Fish Talipia” to the number from my cell phone and within half a minute I received this reply:

farmed China or Taiwan (RED) significant environmental concerns; Central America (YELLOW) some env. concerns; U.S. (GREEN) few environmental concerns

The colors in parenthesis refer to the color coded key that Blue Ocean Institute’s online Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood uses to indicate the environmental impact of the farming/fishing of each type of fish. It’s a useful guide, but it’s not going to be with me when I’m at the seafood market or in a restaurant. This is why I think the text messaging service is so great.

Just last night I was having dinner with friends, and I was explaining my dislike of text messaging. I couldn’t think of a single instance when it wouldn’t be easier to just dial the phone and talk to the person. And today, I found a single reason. I’ll be able to use the text message function to check on the sustainability of my seafood choices with FishPhone.

Read More About Seafood:

Environmental Defense: Plenty of Safe, Eco-Friendly Fish in the Sea

Environmental Defense: Mercury in Canned Tuna – Think Twice About That Lunch

For the Sustainable Seafood Lover in You…

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons



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  • Gustavion

    This is a great idea. I think it is a sort of business model for the future. We, as consumers, need to support businesses that not only provide us with our desired utility (in this case fish info)but also provide an environmental benefit. For example, I came across a website, http://www.simplestop.net that stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment.

  • Laura

    This is a great idea. We prefer to have more fish in our house, and this allows me to take additional steps in protecting the world with my food choices.

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