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Although restaurant menus can provide some useful information about local seafood stocks, this is not universally true. In Hawaii, for example, fish tend to be sourced locally, while mollusks and shrimps are imported from elsewhere. Thus, an analysis of mussels or scallops would not yield very accurate data about Hawaiian populations.
In a new study in the Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, researchers report that the menus of seafood restaurants can be used to estimate the size of local fish populations--but only if you know enough about the local market to take public preference, sourcing practices, market variability, etc.