Seafood Watch Introduction & Mission

Introduction & History

From the air we breathe to the seafood we eat, our very survival depends on the health of the ocean. Through scientific research, market strategies and policy initiatives, the Monterey Bay Aquarium inspires a broad range of audiences to take action on some of the biggest threats to ocean health.

Unsustainable fishing and aquaculture exact a significant toll on ocean health and on human communities around the world. Seafood is one of the most globally traded food commodities providing an important source of protein for billions of people and employment for millions more. Humans depend on the ocean’s bounty but are outpacing its capacity to keep up with the growing demand.

Since its inception in 1999, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s science-based Seafood Watch program has been in the business of improving the sustainability of global fisheries and aquaculture by helping people make better seafood choices, by giving major seafood buyers the tools they need to leverage their purchasing power, by helping seafood producers improve their fishing and aquaculture practices, as well as by informing national and international policy.

Seafood Watch’s widely recognized and respected science-based recommendations, indicating which seafood items are Best Choices or Good Alternatives, and which ones to Avoid, are referenced by governments, businesses and organizations around the world.

Since it launched, Seafood Watch has assessed 85 percent of the seafood available on the U.S. market by volume. In 2017, the program completed 159 recommendations, including updates for popular, high-volume seafood items such as salmon, shrimp and tuna, and added new recommendations for species including blacktail and blue-striped snapper.

Originally designed to drive business and consumer demand for sustainable seafood in North America, today Seafood Watch science underpins the global sustainable seafood movement.


The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program is to help people make better seafood choices for a healthy ocean.