Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch takes the guess work out of know what seafood is being sourced in an eco-ethically responsible way so, that you can make the best choices for your family or restaurant. In an effort to lower my cholesterol I’ve been eating more fish. Like most everything in my life, I try to use my consumer votes wisely. Consumer voting is how and where you spend your money. Purchasing a product means you are voting in favor of the product, store, and how and where that product was manufactured. Your spending directly represents your values.

With more than 75 percent of the world’s fisheries either fully fished or overfished, these issues are more important than ever. The choices we make as consumers drive the seafood marketplace. Our purchasing power can make a difference by supporting those fisheries and fish farms that are better for the environment, while putting pressure on others to improve their systems. When you use the seafood guide, you’re making choices based on the best available information and supporting environmentally friendly fisheries and aquaculture operations.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is doing the research and updating the guide every six months. All I have to do is refer to the guide because they use “the latest science and best management practices are incorporated into our Seafood Watch assessments.” Assessments of fisheries and aquaculture include sustainability, waterways pollution, carbon emissions and human trafficking, forced labor and hazardous child labor that are occurring in a specific fishery.

Visit their website to read more about the issues, the science and to get your copy of the current Seafood Watch Consumers Guide at seafoodwatch.org.

Pan seared wild Washington salmon with mustard herb sauce

Pan sear salmon filet in a skillet over medium high heat in one tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil. Skin side down for 3-5 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish) until you see it is cooked up the side of the fish. Turnover and cook for 2-3 minutes. It’s easy to overcook fish so stay close to the pan, but don’t fuss with the fish. You are looking for a crisp skin and pink center.

To make the sauce

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise

• 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

• ½ tsp horseradish

• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

• 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsp dried

• ¼ tsp salt

• ¼ tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients and chill for one hour or up to one week.