What is Seafood Watch?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans. Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives," and which ones you should "Avoid."

Yellowfin tuna

Seafood Watch raises consumer awareness through our pocket guides, website, mobile applications and outreach efforts. We encourage restaurants, distributors and seafood purveyors to purchase from sustainable sources.

Seafood Watch recommendations are science-based, peer reviewed, and use ecosystem-based criteria. Since 1999, we've distributed over 40 million pocket guides, our smartphone application has been downloaded nearly a million times and we have close to 200 partners across North America, including the two largest food service companies in the U.S.

What Is Our Vision of Sustainability?

At Seafood Watch we help sustain wild, diverse and healthy ocean ecosystems that will exist long into the future. We do this by encouraging consumers and businesses to purchase seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that don't harm the environment. When there is scientific uncertainty, we err on the side of conservation.

Why Do Seafood Choices Matter?

Nearly 85% of the world's fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it. Seafood Watch recommendations don't hinge on any single issue. Instead, they consider the fishery, habitat, species, management, and a host of other factors that affect each species. In this way, Seafood Watch offers a complete vision of sustainability.

How Does Seafood Watch Develop Recommendations?

Our scientists research government reports, journal articles and white papers. They also contact fishery and fish farm experts. After a thorough review, we apply our sustainability criteria to develop an in-depth Seafood Watch Report. All of our reports are reviewed by a panel of experts from academia, government and the seafood industry and are available on our website. From our reports, we create our seafood recommendations.

Our website offers a complete list of Seafood Watch recommendations, with background information. We also print handy, condensed pocket guides that consumers can use when shopping or dining out. Pocket guides are available for six regions of the U.S.: West Coast, Southwest, Central U.S., Southeast, Northeast and Hawaii. Each contains a short list of recommendations for the most popular items in that region. We also have national and sushi versions of the pocket guides. All of our guides are updated every six months. We also offer applications for iPhones and other mobile devices.

For more information about how we develop our recommendations, please see:


More Questions? Comments?

We welcome your feedback at the Seafood Watch Hotline: (877) 229-9990 (toll-free)

Or e-mail us at: seafoodwatch@mbayaq.org