The kosher observant can now celebrate more than religious orthodoxy, cultural traditions, and possible health benefits. A new study from the NOAA and California State University, Channel Islands has found that kosher seafood is generally more environmentally friendly.
The laws of kashrut require that seafood have fins and scales, which rules out shellfish and some kinds of fish. However, the results of the study have little to do with the seafood itself, and more to do with how it is transported. Describing the findings at Conservation Magazine, David Levitan writes:
“…kosher seafood in both markets and restaurants had a substantially reduced carbon footprint based on transportation compared with non-kosher items. The average kosher seafood product traveled about 2,000 kilometers (about 1,242 miles) less to get to a supermarket than non-kosher items did, a highly statistically significant difference. That meant it only needed about 78 percent of the energy required for non-kosher seafood, which obviously would improve the carbon footprint quite a bit.”
On the other hand, Jason G. Goldman at i09 points out that while popular kosher fish like salmon and tuna may have lower carbon footprints, they are also two of the main sources of overworking among commercial fisheries.
For more info on the best types of sustainable seafood, check out SeafoodWatch.org.