A shellfish diet might be even better than going vegan

Not all fish are created equal when it comes to their impact on the climate. In the prophetic words of Dr. Seuss: “Some are glad. And some are sad. And some are very, very bad.”

A new study takes a rare look at seafood’s wide range of carbon impacts. And there are a lot of surprises. Farming catfish creates more emissions than farming chicken, while eating shellfish is even more climate-friendly than a purely vegan diet, according to the study.

This suggests that not all pescetarianism is created equal — and throws another loop into the complicated task of ranking fish sustainability. Take the aforementioned farmed catfish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium calls catfish raised in tanks a “best choice.” But when the researchers looked at the full lifecycle of resources needed to support catfish farms, they found that they were pretty dirty. The recirculating pumps needed to control conditions in catfish tanks require a significant amount of energy, and a lot of that energy comes from coal plants in Asia.

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