Clear Springs Rainbow Trout Sets the Industry Standard for Aquaculture

As FishWise helps Hy-Vee develop the strategies necessary to meet its commitment to customers to responsibly source its fresh and frozen Hy-Vee fish and seafood by the end of 2015, we’ve come across some incredible sustainability success stories.

One of the best comes from Clear Springs Trout Farm. I met them at the Seafood Expo North America, formerly known as the Boston Seafood Show. That vendor in particular is doing a great job, and they produce a ton of fish. It’s domestic and not imported, and is produced fairly close to Hy-Vee stores, so it has a low carbon footprint compared to some other species.

Visiting one-on-one with vendors and forming the relationships that are so important in advancing the Responsible Choice policy, I had the chance to learn a little more about an operation that is truly a model for aquaculture – and produces some delicious trout.

The trout are farmed in land-based raceways with a closed containment system that has earned a Green “Best Choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. There’s also no evidence of large-scale escapes, indicating the raceway systems are effective in containing farmed fish from wild trout populations. Disease risk to wild populations isn’t a major concern – though a lack of data suggests that it should be studied more.

The flow-through raceway system uses continuously flowing pristine spring water. The waste is managed very well. The raceways are designed so waste settles at the bottom and is easy to clean out, so it doesn’t end up going into any nearby bodies of water. The risk of pollution is low.

The feed is Yellow Rated by Seafood Watch because some fish oil and fish meal from wild fisheries are used, but it’s a relatively low amount.

Clear Springs Rainbow Trout is a fish people can feel good about eating because it’s such a model for other aquaculture species. I would encourage people to try it; it’s more robust than some fish, but good for someone with an adventurous palate. It has a delicate texture and is a good substitute for less sustainable species like haddock or snapper.

For some ideas on how to prepare this tasty fish, click here for two delicious rainbow trout recipes.

Author: Kathleen Mullen-Ley

My name is Kathleen Mullen-Ley, and I am a project manager for FishWise. FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, has been working with Hy-Vee to research and recommend seafood product sourcing, develop and implement Hy-Vee's Responsible Choice Seafood materials and staff training, and analyze data to measure progress towards Hy-Vee's 2015 Commitment. I hold a master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. My graduate research project was an analysis of the World Trade Organization ruling on the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label and its implications for future market-based marine conservation efforts. My experience analyzing fishery management issues and communicating marine science to diverse audiences combined with my respect for ocean life has made me well-prepared to take on the challenges of sustainable seafood.

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