Fish Phone


People who want to make a difference often ask, “What can I do?” Because most people’s main relationship with the ocean is through the seafood we eat, knowing about sustainable seafood is one of the things we can do. So to help lighten our load on the ocean, Blue Ocean Institute has created an iPhone app called FishPhone.

You’ve heard of “early adopters?” I am the last adopter. Last person to get everything. I carried the same reliable old cell phone for about 7 years, until people started pointing and giggling. Still I resisted. But then we put our Ocean Friendly Seafood Rankings into an iPhone “app” available on iTunes. With support from Brancott Vineyards, we created the searchable seafood app, and we were also able to include wine pairings for seafood on the good side of our scale. And, for the more environmentally friendly choices, our resident chef Barton Seaver provides recipes. Not long ago I had the distinct pleasure (read: performance anxiety) of cooking lunch for Barton and Blue Ocean’s staff in my home, and it went so well that my recipe for “striped bass casa allegra” is also included. Lotsa fun for me to see “my first published recipe.”

I miss my old phone. But I gotta admit, I dig the colors. I like some of the features. My old phone certainly couldn’t show me the weather-radar to help me decide whether it was really safe to take my boat outside the harbor after a storm seemed to pass.

And our app rocks. You can search by seafood name, by best-to-worst, learn fishing terms, learn the answer to, “is seafood good for me” (and when it isn’t), and basically dazzle your friends at dinner.

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still get our rankings from any cell phone by texting the message FISH and the species in question to 30644, (So for instance, “Fish yellowtail” or “Fish clams”). Blue Ocean Institute replies in under ten seconds with our friendly advice. Users can opt-in to receive ocean-friendly updates by texting BLUE to 30644, (The text service was developed with the support of the Waitt Foundation and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation).

There are lots of ways of answering the question ‘What can I do?’ and not all of them are this easy. You can read about other ideas on our website. But having a nice example in the palm of my hand to show and share makes it almost worth giving up my old reliable 7-year-old phone.

– Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute

Leave a Reply