Sustainable Seafood


Legal Sea Foods has operated with a commitment to sustainability for over three decades.  Our menu features seafood that is not only fresh and seasonal, but also safe and sustainable.

We truly believe that an open dialogue is needed to enable all of us to better understand the complexity of the situation and make more informed decisions on what we should and should not eat.

We at Legal Sea Foods are as passionate about sustainability as we are about the fishing industry and food safety.  But we also feel that the issue has been clouded by outdated and faulty data, and a reliance on simplistic dictums from groups that help turn the public against certain species of fish.  We need to constantly question where fish comes from and how it was caught, rather than rely upon a single source of information.

A Few Things That We Believe:

  • We need to find solutions that are sustainable not only for fish, but also for the fishing industry.
  • We endorse moratoriums and quotas on over-fished species.
  • We only serve fish and shellfish that are within National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) guidelines and, as such, are considered sustainable species by the federal government.
  • We look at every species of fish and make an ethical decision on whether or not it should be served.  For example, we do not sell Chilean sea bass because most of the world’s catch is illegal.
  • We think the debate on seafood sourcing - wild versus farm-raised - is necessary and aquaculture that utilizes the highest levels of sanitation, environmental safeguards and is antibiotic-free should be supported.

Our Beef With Current Fish Assessments:

  • Much of the scientific data documenting a region’s fish supply comes from the Albatross IV boat. But NOAA acknowledged that its equipment was mismarked and incorrect for two years, thereby under-estimating fish populations.
  • Current assessments of fish biomass do not take into account the ever-changing health of species.  Some species are recovering, while others are being depleted.  The science behind these assessments needs to reflect this constantly changing dynamic.

  • We believe there are more sound and effective ways to determine sustainability of fish.  We strongly support the use of a new type of sonar, Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS), which was developed by scientists at MIT and Northeastern University conducting research for Homeland Security to detect nuclear submarines, and believe this technology would provide a much more accurate and efficient system to make fish biomass assessments.
  • We applaud the National Marine Fisheries Service for recently adopting a new system of counting scallops by using an underwater camera to photograph the beds, replacing its old system of estimating scallops by the numbers caught in nets.

We want people to take a more nuanced view at the issue because it’s not always so black and white.  Let’s keep the discussion going, and let’s keep asking questions.  The more we know, the more we ask.  And the more we demand from those tasked with protecting the fish supply, the better the result for fish, fishermen and those of us who love to eat fish.