FishPhone: Why Yes, There is an App for That.

FishPhone. It doesn’t fit in your wallet, yet.

While it might be some time before anybody really sorts out what the real deal with Gulf Coast seafood is right now — witness the article on the confusion over what’s safe and what’s not in yesterday’s Times Dining section — we were just reminded about a free iPhone app called FishPhone

It was created by the Blue Ocean Institute (with help from the New Zealand wine brand Brancott Estate) to help us suss out the most sustainable choices when shopping at Citarella’s pristine fish counter or ordering off the Restaurant Week menu at Esca.

There are of course a myriad of minefields when it comes to eating seafood: Does this particular fish from this particular place have mercury or toxins? Is it over-fished? Was it farm-raised, and in this fishies’ case, is that good or bad? And what’s this tuna loin’s carbon footprint, anyway?

So for years we’ve carried around one of those little wallet-sized folded fish guides that give out the good and bad choices. But sadly the thing needs to be updated often (thank you, oil spill) and gets a little dog-eared if not lost, which is why we’re kind of psyched about the ability to look it up on our best friend… um, smart phone. Plus, it also includes recipes and wine pairings, none of which fit on that little foldy card.

And if you don’t have an iPhone or a foldy card, order the local oysters! We’ve always been relieved that these briny bivalves and local aquatic economy boosters are usually given the green light: Most are farmed these days, and environmentally speaking, the more little Crassostrea virginicus out there filtering our East Coast waters, the better.




Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.