Red Snapper on Ice: in album seafood
|Jul 30th, 2011, by Alex Zorach|
This photo shows whole red snapper fish on a bed of ice, for sale at Wan's Seafood in the Reading Terminal Market in Phildelphia.
I avoid buying Red Snapper, even though it is delicious. Seafood Watch marks Red Snapper on their AVOID list, meaning that it is a worst-choice ecologically. EDF's Seafood Selector also marks Red Snapper as an "Eco-Worst" choice. Most red snapper sold in the U.S. is harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is heavily overfished. This fish is in decline worldwide, and fishing pressure on this species is very heavy. There is less evidence on the ecological status of this species when it is imported, but it is likely that it is also equally if not more endangered in other regions as well.
Furthermore, EDF's site notes that red snapper has moderate mercury levels, recommending that children consume no more than 3 meals a month, and children under 6 no more than 2 meals a month. Because mercury bioaccumulates, larger fish contain more mercury. Larger fish also have the most negative ecological impact when caught, so for both health and environmental reasons, if you are going to buy red snapper at all, buy the smallest fish available.