How to Find Sustainable Seafood: Vital Choice

I believe that finding a trustworthy source of sustainable seafood is extremely important.

Back when I was chef at a local sushi bar, we would have fresh fish delivered three times per week. Each time the fish was delivered, one of the appointed sushi chefs would inspect the fish to see if it passed our quality standards.

After expressing interest, I learned how to check the quality of the fish, but one thing really stood out to me: if the fish doesn’t meet his standards, he didn’t buy it.

I know this sounds like common sense, but I initially assumed that the company we purchased fish from was consistently sending us quality fish (which was true, for the most part), but our chefs checked the quality each and every time. Occasionally, we would notice something about the order that we didn’t like – so my mentor sent it back and we had the money refunded.

My mentor would call the seafood vendor and asked them to over-night ship a new order. He said that if they refused, he would simply take his business to another vendor. I only saw this happen one or two times, but our vendor quickly made sure that we got the highest quality fish each time (we still checked the fish though).

After several weeks of training, it was my new responsibility to make sure each fish was fit to serve to our clients.

While I won’t go into full detail on how to check a fish for quality in this blog post (you can find more information about this in my free sushi guide, 13 Ways to Tell if a Sushi Restaurant is Worth Trying), I am very pleased to say that I have checked, and approved, of an online vendor.

Why would I go through this trouble? To answer the question,

“Where can I buy sustainable seafood?”

Unlike seafood restaurants and the chefs that work for them, people wanting to make sushi at home might have a hard time finding high-quality seafood around where they live.

In addition to wanting the highest quality, I also wanted to make sure that it was responsibly obtained- and finding sustainable seafood isn’t as easy as it might sound.

After months of scowling the internet, checking reviews, and looking for certified sustainable options, I found Vital Choice.

Vital Choice is an amazing company that stands true to their stance on sustainable seafood. The founder, Randy Hartnell, is a former Alaskan fisherman and has seen the process of delivering sustainable seafood from start to finish. As a result, he leads a company that pays attention to every detail to ensure that their products are safe for the environment and the consumer.

The Fourfold Vital Choice Mission

  • Promote our customers’ health and well-being by providing natural, sustainably harvested seafood products of superior quality at a fair price.
  • Support the precious Salmon resource upon which we depend and those who labor to provide it.
  • Continually improve our ideas, products, and customer satisfaction.
  • Be guided by integrity and high moral principles in all aspects of our business.

How is their seafood shipped?

Their frozen products are shipped with dry ice and usually arrive within 1-3 days. Each frozen shipment is sent in a styrofoam container and can even be recycled through their Vital Green Recycling Program!

“They will arrive frozen and ready for your freezer.The dry ice evaporates during shipment and may be completely gone by the time you open your package–do not be alarmed as this is normal.” – Source

Here’s more information about Vital Choice Shipping.

What if I can’t find the item I am looking for?

You might find a yourself looking for an item that Vital Choice doesn’t carry. It is very unlikely that you will find every type of seafood you will want for sushi on one website- but don’t worry. I am actively looking for other sustainable vendors to fill the gaps.

For the items that you can find on their website, I highly recommend purchasing through them as they are the best I have found.

I want to be supportive and buy sustainable seafood, but I don’t want to buy so much at one time…

The only drawback to supporting this site and getting amazing seafood is that you have to order at least multiple fillets at a time. You’re probably thinking, “What am I going to do with all of that fish?”

Here are a few ways that you can take full advantage of this service:

  1. Get your friends involved – Reach out to your close friends or family and see if they would like to go in on an order with you! This will reduce the cost per person and help raise awareness of the company.
  2. Keep the fish frozen – Each order is flash frozen and shipped in dry ice. You can simply store them in your freezer and use them within 6-12 months.
  3. Eat tons of seafood – I could eat seafood everyday and it doesn’t take much to convince me to order it in large quantities. If you’re like me, then you thaw one half of the order to eat within 3 days and keep the rest frozen.

Vital Choice Affiliate

Being that Vital Choice is also a partner of the Seafood Watch Program (which I was also recently accepted into), I knew that I had to work with them.

After a few weeks of being reviewed by their staff, I was graciously accepted into their program and got the opportunity to set up a special offer for my readers: 10% off your first order!

Enjoy 10% off your first purchase with Vital Choice by using the code: VCAFINT during checkout.

As an affiliate, do you get paid to advertise for this company?

Yes, but just a respectable sushi chef wouldn’t serve sub-par seafood; I wouldn’t recommend, advertise, or sell any service or product that I didn’t believe was truly beneficial to my readers.

Most affiliate partnerships give a percentage of the sale to the affiliate. That means that if you click the link above and purchase something from Vital Choice, a small percentage of those proceeds go towards supporting this website (at no additional cost to you!).

It’s a great way to show your support where everybody wins: Vital Choice continues to sell sustainable seafood, I get to continue delivering free content, and you get an awesome product! What’s not to love about it?

See for Yourself

Don’t just take my word for it, though. See for yourself! I’m a huge proponent of doing your research.

Click on the link above and check out what Vital Choice has to offer. When you’re ready, use the promo code VCAFINT at check out to receive 10% your order.

If you have any questions or want help finding a specific sushi ingredient (and it doesn’t have to be from VC), shoot me an email at

All the best,

Bryan Sekine


Bryan Sekine with Secrets of Sushi

Bryan Sekine

I’ve been a professional sushi chef since 2008, but my passion is in teaching others. I have taught over 300 people in my live sushi classes and countless others online!

My goal is to teach people how to make sushi at home while educating them about sustainable seafood practices.

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