Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Seatrout, Spotted

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Seatrout, Spotted Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Speckled Seatrout, Spotted Weakfish Florida, Louisiana Wild
Seatrout, Spotted Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Speckled Seatrout, Spotted Weakfish Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia Wild

Spotted Seatrout, Wild

In Louisiana and Florida, spotted seatrout is well managed and abundant, making it a "Best Choice." This varies in Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia, however, where concerns about overfishing and habitat damage from fishing gear make spotted seatrout a "Good Alternative."

Health Alert

Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for spotted seatrout due to elevated levels of mercury.


Spotted seatrout is a popular sport fish with recreational and smaller commercial fisheries throughout several states along the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Spotted seatrout populations vary throughout the Atlantic and Gulf states. Seatrout can be found in good abundance in Louisiana and Florida while it's believed to be overfished in Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. The largest portion of the commercial catch of spotted seatrout is landed in North Carolina.

The fishing gear used to catch seatrout also varies by state. In Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi, handline gear is used, which results in low bycatch levels and minimal impacts to the seafloor habitat. However, there is some concern about bycatch and habitat impacts caused by the haul seines and gillnets used in North Carolina, Virginia and portions of Mississippi.

All five states actively manage the seatrout fisheries, although management effectiveness varies by state. Florida has the most effective management system and has maintained seatrout populations at healthy levels.

Varying impacts and management result in spotted seatrout being a "Best Choice" from Florida and Louisiana and a "Good Alternative" from Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia.

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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat