Oregon Magazine

Decanting with Delkin
Oregon Seafood Choices
On 'Super Green' List

By Fred Delkin

The Monterey Bay (CA) Aquarium publishes an annual "Green List" of seafood categories that pass a 'muster list' that shows low level of contminants, daily minimum of Omega 3 fatty acids and is sustainable. We are happy to report, in these environmentally challenged times, that readily available seafood choices in Oregon markets and restaurants meet these requirements.

Wild-caught Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Halibut, Black Cod (also known as Sablefish), Pink 'cocktail' Shrimp and Dungeness Crab abound in the ocean waters off Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The acceptable list also includes another wild-caught favorite of ours, Spot Prawns, harvested in the deep waters of British Columbia and Alaska...these tasty morsels offer the extra allure of roe on the females. A new item now in local seafood purveyors' cases are wild-caught Pacific Sardines. Surely many of our readers have marveled at the travails of the Bering Sea adventurers who bring us King and Opilio (Snow) Crab as documented on the Discovery television channel's "Deadliest Catch" series.

Other species considered acceptable on the 'good for you, good for the oceans' roster are farmed Mussels, Oysters, Clams, Trout, Scallops, Catfish and Tilapia.. Shrimp farming is a major industry in Asia, Central & South America and harvests reach here in frozen form and vary widely in quality and are raised mostly in freshwater, lacking the flavor input of saltwater that graces wild harvested U.S. Gulf Shrimp. Aquaculture is proving successful for many species, whereas it is not so whoopee when it comes to Salmon that is farmed in quantity in British Columbia, Chile and Norway. Viral poisoning affects these sources and they also pose a negative effect on wild salmon in terms of purity and flavor.

Local seafood lovers are celebrating the annual December launch of the commercial Dungeness Crab season off our coastline and now the biggest money-maker for our depleted fishing fleet and our ports that can only fondly remember when they were a keystone of Oregon's economy.

© 2009 Oregon Magazine