The folks who brought us the totally unnecessary “Give Swordfish a Break” program are at it again. This time, the public relations machine at Fenton Communications and Environmental Media Services is pushing something called the “Seafood Choices Alliance.” Make no mistake, this new nanny on the block is not interested in preserving your choices. The group is operated by COMPASS (the COMmunication PArtnership for Science and the Sea), which also runs SeaWeb and Island Press. The Seafood Choices Alliance lists several “partners” on its web site, including SeaWeb, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the National Environmental Trust, and the National Audubon Society (which apparently has diversified significantly from its platform of traditional conservation).

The combined operating budgets of Seafood Choices Alliance’s “partners” is over $40 million. That’s a lot of muscle, and it’s being applied to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be allowed to eat when dining out. The centerpiece of the Seafood Choices web site is a directory of 21 species (and growing) of popular menu fish, along with corresponding “To dine or not to dine” verdicts from NRDC, EDF, Audubon, and others.