Endangered Species Offered in U.S. Restaurants

an IUCN report released in 2010. That makes them one of the most threatened groups of animals on the Red List.

NEWS: A Major Blow To Bluefin Tuna

As alternatives, the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program suggests U.S. farmed sturgeon and its roe, which is often called beluga caviar. But the program suggests avoiding the wild varieties.


Technically known as Patagonian toothfish, Chliean seabass may come baked or pan-seared. But the white, flaky, deepsea delicacy is suffering from overfishing.

Like bluefin tuna, Chilean seabass grow slowly and live for several decades, but their reproductive rates are low, making it hard for them to sustain populations in the face of fishing pressures.

The Marine Stewardship Council, an independent organization that has developed sustainability standards and labels, has validated at least one population of Chilean seabass. But a DNA study last year found that even labeled fish often come from populations that are not managed sustainably.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program suggests avoiding Chilean seabass altogether, pointing out that the fish is also high in mercury and that the methods used to catch it often snare albatross and other seabirds.


Many species of turtles and tortoises, both freshwater and sea-dwelling, are listed as endangered or critically endangered around the world. But that doesn’t stop illegal turtle eggs and meat from showing up in Asian food stores and on menus in the southern U.S. and in tropical regions.

BLOG: Fishy Store Labels On ‘Sustainable Fish’

A Chinese appetite for turtles is one of the animal’s greatest threats worldwide, according to a report released last year by the Turtle Conservation Coalition, a consortium that included the IUCN. Every year, China imports millions of turtles from Asia, Africa, and North America for use in food, medicinal products, or sometimes as pets. And 17 of the world’s 25 most endangered turtles live in Asia.

Asian restaurants and markets are one of the most common places to find endangered turtle meat in the U.S. But even the Food Network and Cooks.com offer turtle soup recipes.

And while some turtle populations may be healthy, it’s often impossible to know where the turtle you’re eating came from.

“Millions of animals are being taken from the wild every day to go into these various purposes, one of which is exotic foods,” Telecky said. “We always urge people to be aware of the origins of what it is they’re eating.”



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