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Trash Fish – A New Food Trend

When you're perusing the menu at a five-star restaurant, the last thing you expect to see is garbage on the menu, but one particular type of trash is finding its way onto the menus of some of the best restaurants in the country. Trash fish is the latest culinary trend, and that's good news for the planet and your palate. Read on to learn more about this food phenomenon.

What Is Trash Fish?
Trash fish is the term given to types of fish that traditionally have not been considered commodities in the fishing industry. These fish consist of bottom feeders, fish that look unattractive and species that are small in size. Often, fishermen are unable to sell trash fish and are forced to sort them out of their catch and basically throw them away. Now, more and more chefs are transforming trash fish into culinary masterpieces, allowing fishermen to sell more of their catch.
The Eco Benefits of Trash Fish
Food waste is a major concern across the United States. Any time food that would otherwise be put to waste is consumed, it's a win for the environment. Using trash fish also helps to improve the sustainability of our oceans. In many parts of the world, popular species of fish are greatly over-fished to meet consumer demand. As more species of fish become considered "good food," the risk of over-fishing will decline.
The Health Benefits of Trash Fish
Fish provides many vital nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids not found in many other types of food; however, mercury contamination is a major concern when it comes to eating seafood. Many of the most popular types of fish like tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, grouper and mackerel contain the highest levels of mercury and should be eaten only occasionally. Many types of trash fish, including whiting, hake, pollock, mullet and shad, are very low in mercury. Generally, health experts say that an unlimited amount of these fish species can be consumed, making trash fish a way to get the health benefits of seafood while protecting yourself from toxins.
So where can you get trash fish? You can find various trash fish varieties on the menus of many restaurants, especially farm to table restaurants and establishments that specialize in local catch. Chef's Collaborative, a group dedicated to promoting the benefits of sustainable and local dining, holds Trash Fish Dinners around the country throughout the year. If you want to try DIY trash fish recipes, talk to your local fishmonger to find out what varieties are available.
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