Sustainability rating systems to guide consumer seafood choices are becoming as plentiful as the fish they seek to protect once were. Americans may now peruse market aisles with their choice of half a dozen pocket seafood guides: Monterey Bay Aquarium’s one week, the New England Aquarium’s another. These guides, which typically aggregate complex data into an accessible “seafood recommendation” rating, are designed to steer consumers and businesses towards sustainably harvested seafood from healthy populations. They also, we hope, give overexploited fisheries some breathing room.
But are they making a difference?