Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Trout, Rainbow/Steelhead

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
Trout, Lake 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. Char, Laker, Mackinaw, Namaycush, Salmon Trout, Togue Lake Superior, Lake Huron Wild
Trout, Lake Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Char, Laker, Mackinaw, Namaycush, Salmon Trout, Togue Lake Michigan Wild
Trout, Rainbow/Steelhead Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Golden & Steelhead Trout U.S. Farmed

Rainbow Trout, Farmed, U.S.

U.S. rainbow trout raised in raceways, ponds and tanks is a "Best Choice" because it's farmed in an ecologically responsible way. Many wild steelhead trout populations are endangered or threatened. This recommendation does not apply to wild-caught steelhead, which make up a small portion of trout in the marketplace and have not been assessed by Seafood Watch.

Consumer Note

Most of the trout available in U.S. markets is farm-raised. Rainbow trout is also marketed as "golden trout," "steelhead" or "steelhead trout." A small amount of farmed trout is imported into the U.S. and is marketed as steelhead, but is not included in this recommendation.


Rainbow trout is part of the salmon family and has been produced commercially in the U.S. on a large scale since the 1960s. Most U.S. trout are farmed inland in flow-through systems, which consist of raceways, ponds or tanks with continuously flowing water, and escape and pollution problems are generally well-controlled. Compared to other carnivorous farmed species, trout are relatively efficient at converting their feed into protein, especially with recent improvements in their feed. Management of the rainbow trout aquaculture industry is effective and well regulated, with widespread use of best management practices.

For these reasons, U.S. rainbow trout farmed in raceways, ponds and tanks is a Seafood Watch "Best Choice."

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