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Taste

Is Your Favorite Fish Environmentally Sustainable?

From bluefin tuna to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, see how your favorite fish stacks up.

Should you eat that fish? Environmentally speaking, it can be confusing.

Just because that fish is in our taco doesn't mean it was caught in a sustainable way, and even today we are overfishing at alarming rates: Of the 600 fisheries monitored by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, 96 percent are either overexploited or depleted.

If we don't fix our ways, scientists predict that all of the world's fisheries will have collapsed, one by one, by the time it's 2048. That's just a little over 30 years from now.

Seafood Watch, an organization based at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, keeps an updated database of sustainable seafood choices and designs printable guides to find the best seafood in your state.

Here is a list of how common seafood stacks up, based on population levels and fishing methods, according to Seafood Watch. From bluefin tuna to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, see how your favorite fish ranks on their list right now:

Arctic Char
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Seafood Watch considers arctic char, which is in the salmon family but closely related to trout, a "best choice" if you get it farmed from the US, Canada or Iceland. The "systems in which they are produced allow for significant environmental control and subsequently minor environmental impacts," according to Seafood Watch.
Bass
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Striped and largemouth bass are considered "best choice" by Seafood Watch, but with a caveat: Largemouth should be caught from ponds in the US and striped by hook and line in the US Atlantic.
Catfish
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"Best choice" are blue catfish from Chesapeake Bay, channel catfish caught in U.S. ponds or any farmed in closed tanks worldwide. Skip any other catfish.
Cod
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"Best choice" goes to Pacific cod caught in Alaska or farmed in closed tanks. Avoid Atlantic cod.
Flounder
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Go for flounder from the West Coast, Alaska or British Columbia, which are either your best choice or alternative, but "be aware that some sources are 'Good Alternatives' and others are on the 'Avoid' list," according to Seafood Watch.
Grouper
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There's no best choice for grouper, but if you must have some, look for black, red and Hawaiian grouper and skip Warsaw, yellowedge, gag or snowy grouper.
Haddock
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Same for haddock -- Seafood Watch recommends skipping this fish. But if you need haddock, get it from the U.S. Georges Bank, which is considered a good alternative.
Halibut
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Seafood Watch says there's no best choice for halibut. But good alternatives include Greenland turbot from Alaska and halibut farmed by Canada-based Scotian Halibut Ltd.
Mackerel
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Most mackerel from North American sources are "best choices."
Pike
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Pike -- don't eat.It's on the avoid list.
Pollock
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Seafood Watch considers no best choice for pollock and says its best alternatives have caveats: hook-and-line caught pollock from the US or Canada.
Salmon
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There's a lot of variance when it comes to salmon, but just stick to wild Alaskan salmon and you'll be safe.The good salmon: most wild Alaskan and some farmed and wild from other regions. The salmon to avoid: Be sure they're not from these many, many places.
Sardines
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Seafood Watch recommends only buying Pacific sardines from the U.S. and Canada, but the U.S. Pacific sardine fishery is closed until June this year because sardine population is so low.
Seabass
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There are a few "best choice" options for buying seabass caught with handlines, in traps or farmed in closed tanks -- but you should definitely avoid black seabass caught in otter trawls in the northern mid-Atlantic U.S. coast.
Shark
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Seafood Watch says to keep away from all species of shark, unless it's a spiny dogfish, caught with by bottom trawling along the U.S. West Coast.
Skate
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Good to eat: longnose skate caught with a longline or trawl along the U.S. West Coast.Avoid: winter and longnose skates from British Columbia or the U.S. Atlantic.
Snapper
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There's no "best choice" for snapper.
Swordfish
Jeff Rotman via Getty Images
There are plenty of options for buying Seafood Watch-approved swordfish, just make sure it's wild and caught by handline or harpooned in east Pacific, U.S. Atlantic or Canada.
Tilapia
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Get farmed tilapia from Ecuador or Peru and tilapia from closed tanks in the U.S. and Canada.
Trout
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The "best choice" trout comes from Lake Superior, but only on the Minnesota side -- avoid it from the Wisconsin side.
Tuna
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Best choice: albacore and skipjack caught in the Pacific with trolls or poles and lines.Avoid all bluefin tuna.
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