New York

Last week I was having a meeting in Washington DC with some staff from theĀ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they passed on this handy tip for finding out whether the fish on your plate is healthy and from sustainable stocks.

Simply use your mobile phone to text “Fish sea bass” (or whatever your fish of choice) to number 30644.

My “sea bass” enquiry brought this response:

“Black Sea Bass (GREEN) few env concerns. Chilean Sea Bass (RED) HEALTH ADVISORY: High mercury. Try striped bass or pacific halibut instead.”

Click here to find out more details about Chilean Sea Bass from a recent National Geographic article)

Be warned: It does take a little while (several minutes) for the response to arrive, so you may not be popular if you start texting the entire fish menu from the restaurant, especially if your companions are hungry…

(Sorry, but this only works in the US. There may well be something similar in the UK – if anybody knows of such a service, let me know and I will publish details here.)

[photo: the Chilean Sea Bass. Eaten for its flavour rather than its handsome good looks]

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