The Baiting Game: Which Fish to Avoid

“The Green Ninja,” a character created by a climate scientist and his team, provides an entertaining and educational way to help children – and everyone else – grasp the intricacies of climate change and learn what they can personally do to become involved in fighting it. See additional details about the series or head straight to this week’s episode, “The Baiting Game: Which Fish to Avoid.”

In today’s episode, a woman named Sheila is trying to buy some fish for dinner. Unfortunately, she runs into trouble when the ones she’s looking at turn out to be not quite as advertised.

Fish caught in environmentally unfriendly ways

The first fish insists he was caught in an environmentally friendly way, but his missing eye and the net he’s tangled up in says otherwise.

Accidental bycatch remains a huge problem, with nets and hooks indiscriminately catching turtles, dolphins, or endangered species. Tuna and dolphin tend to swim together, so when nets are put out to catch tuna, they often catch dolphins as well.

Mercury poisoning

The second fish is so full of toxic mercury that he’s glowing with it!

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain some level of mercury, but some are more likely to have higher levels. Mercury can be dangerous to your health, especially if you are a developing young human. Everyone should avoid these higher-level fish, but children and pregnant women should be particularly careful.

Mislabeling

The third “fish” is not a fish at all – he’s actually a dog with tuna dreams!

Imagine going out for sushi and ordering the most expensive thing on the menu, only to be given a simple tuna dressed up as the fancier fish. An experiment conducted by two New York high school students found that fish is often sold under the wrong name to unsuspecting customers.

They found that one-fourth of the fish samples with identifiable DNA were mislabeled. A piece of sushi sold as the luxury treat white tuna turned out to be Mozambique tilapia, a much cheaper fish that is often raised by farming. Roe supposedly from flying fish was actually from smelt. Seven of nine samples that were called red snapper were mislabeled, and they turned out to be anything from Atlantic cod to Acadian redfish, an endangered species.

What to do?

So with all these lying fish floating around, how is a person supposed to know what fish is safe to eat? Watch the show and find out!