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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

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Why chefs are confused about what fish they can serve

‘Sustainability’ has many guises: lists, diner questions, legal restrictions...

If you want to see Boston chefs get hot under the collar, throw their hands up in confusion, or sigh in resignation, just ask them about seafood sustainability.

The topic has been under discussion so long it’s gone from buzzword to cliché, and consumers might be forgiven for thinking that sustainability has been resolved. Not so, say chefs and seafood market owners. But they do need something to go by. Michael Leviton, of Lumiere in West Newton and Area Four in Cambridge, offers this definition from the United Nations: “The ability to provide for the needs of today without compromising our ability to provide for the needs of the future.’’ But, he adds, “That sounds all nice and simple, but at the end of the day, it really isn’t.’’

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