3 Must-Know Tips Before You Buy Sustainable Seafood

May 31, 2021 at 11:00 PM
Lab cauught for sale to distrubutors that buy sustainable seafood.

The sweet and luxuriant blue crab velouté has always earned compliments. But, at some point in the last few years, a question started following: was it sustainably sourced, Chef?

Another sign is the shopper who spends minutes looking for an ecological logo when trying to buy sustainable seafood. A Friday evening of BBQ shrimp with sauvignon blanc isn’t enough anymore. From the restaurant to the consumer kitchen, sustainability matters today.

At Tommy’s Seafood, the Southern way has always been to care for our nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf and South Atlantic.

If you want to buy eco-friendly seafood, here are our three tips — backed by 30 years of fishing sustainably:

1. Start with the source.

First, find out where the fish is coming from.

In case you’re wondering about our sources at Tommy’s Seafood, we provide wild-caught seafood from:

  • Lake Pontchartrain
  • Bayou Bienvenue
  • Mississippi River

We carry out certain practices that help marine life thrive while still enabling us to ship enough to meet consumer and retailer demand. They make a big difference for sea life. Consider if each supplier you consider follows them or effective variations.

Population monitoring.

We monitor the marine life population across our facilities and sources to support it. Monitoring is necessary because some of the varieties we provide, such as blue crabs, can be invasive species.

By keeping constant over the population for each variety we ship, we ensure that ecosystems always have enough to reproduce and thrive.

Distributing to local businesses and consumers.

For restaurant owners, a closer source is often best. The nearer your supplier, the less travel time required. Food transportation makes up 11% of greenhouse gas emissions. In that context, you can see how a local supplier contributes significantly to sustainability.

Besides meaning you have fewer logistical worries, finding seafood locally reduces your carbon footprint as a retailer or distributor.

2. Find out about fishing methods.

Fishing methods are an essential part of seafood sustainability. The methods that are most humane and best for preserving sea life are pole, line, and handline fishing.

In addition to using ethical fishing methods, the seafood processor you choose needs to watch for its real-time impact on marine life. Even if the best methods are in use, are fish and other creatures mating at appropriate levels, migrating as expected, and finding enough food?

Methods such as long lines, bottom trawling, or purse seine are generally harmful.

3. See if you can build a season-to-season relationship with the supplier.

As different fish come in and out of season, a relationship with a supplier is what keeps your menu seamlessly fresh as a chef. As a lover of seafood, it’s what keeps you preparing new recipes throughout the year.

To buy sustainable seafood, you have to be ready to leave certain types off-limits during mating season. For example, while crawfish mate from late spring up to the warmer months, blue crab is plentiful until winter when it too replenishes itself.

After all, the modern diner is conscious enough to know what fish is in season.

A supplier you can depend on throughout the year means easily changing the chef’s specialty from, say, a crawfish suaté in winter to chargrilled oysters on a half shell in summer.

Buy sustainable seafood from a responsible, veteran supplier.

Tommy’s Seafood has been supplying distributors, haute cuisine restaurants, and everyday seafood lovers for over 30 years. We have our own factory in New Orleans, Louisiana, 30,000 feet big. And we have R&D services that enable us to keep innovating and exercising greater control over the sustainability of our fisheries.

When you purchase sustainable fish from us, you get the finest texture, unique Louisiana flavor across seafood types, a fresh and dependable supply — and the satisfaction of being a responsible business.

Contact us today to learn more about receiving our sustainable seafood.