July 13, 2024

Economix: Fish Prices and the Environmental Debate

Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times

Our colleague Sam Sifton, over on Diner’s Journal, highlights the Tumblr blog of the Bloomberg restaurant reviewer Ryan Sutton. Mr. Sutton tracks prices at restaurants (and high-priced ones at that, judging from the $298 meal at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and the $21 burger at the Lion in Manhattan, currently featured on the home page), as well as running the Dover Sole Price Guide, a comparison of, well, Dover sole prices at 25 swanky restaurants in New York City.

Given all the attention that fish is getting these days for both health and environmental issues, Economix decided to take a quick look at the comparative prices of various fish recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, which grades menu choices based on how the fish have been caught or farmed.

Unfortunately, the United States Department of Agriculture does not track seafood prices the way it does milk, eggs, beef, fruit and vegetables.

So I took a selection of five fish listed under “best choices” and five on the “avoid” list, all commonly used by home cooks, and compared prices at four New York area seafood sellers: FreshDirect, the online grocery delivery service; Fish Tales, in Brooklyn; Wild Edibles, at the market in Grand Central Terminal; and Citarella, on the Upper West Side.

Over all, it looks as if being environmentally conscientious will come at a price. Wild Alaska salmon, on the “best choices” list, ranges from $23.99 to $34.99 a pound, while Pacific halibut is anywhere from $23.99 to 29.99 a pound. On the “avoid” list, monkfish is $10.99 to $14.99 a pound while farmed Atlantic salmon is just $11.99 to $13.99.

But there are outliers. On the “best” list you can go for domestic farmed tilapia for as low as $7.99. And being environmentally reckless can be costly, too: for Chilean sea bass, you’ll have to shell out as much as $29.99 a pound.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=95d216a0c63d37d42772b406ab995811

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