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The most sustainable fish to eat in the UK and how to cook it Wine News

In the old days, we would choose seafood based on our whims or what we could afford, without thinking too much about sustainability. We now know better.

The Marine Conservation Society estimates that 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are fully or overexploited, with marine life under additional pressure from climate change and pollution. And Netflix’s documentary Seaspiracy brought the subject back to the forefront, not least for being criticized by scientists and marine experts for “gathering evidence” and distorting their views.

The hard-hitting 90-minute film, directed by the team behind Leonardo Di Caprio, produced Cowspiracy and the brainchild of Ali Tabrizi, 27, from Kent, made many people swear not to fish forever.

But while most consumers want to make responsible choices, it’s a lot more complicated than many of us realize. Check out the MCS’s Good Fish Guide and it seems that choosing the most sustainable fish (green) and avoiding the worst (red) requires a degree in marine biology. This is because it is not just the species that is important; you need to know where and how the fish are caught.

For example, bass caught in the Bay of Biscay was included in the Guide’s red list in October because unsustainable fishing practices are increasingly killing dolphins and porpoises. But according to Charlotte Coombes, responsible for the MCS’s Good Fish Guide, wild bass is not fished this way in UK waters and may be a good choice (although still not recommended – farmed bass is better).

“I understand it’s complicated, concedes Coombes. “But asking someone at a fish shop, fish and chips or restaurant where and how the fish were caught will show them how important it is for customers to feel reassured that their seafood is sustainable.”

Avoiding fish caught in the way most likely to harm the environment can also be part of choosing seafood wisely. Beam trawling, for example, involves dragging nets suspended from heavy beams along the bottom. marine. “It can almost cut cheese through habitats, so it can be very damaging,” Coombes explains.

Dredging, widely used to harvest scallops, clams and oysters, can also destroy the seabed and inadvertently capture vulnerable species. Traps, pots, handlines and rod lines, on the other hand, are considered the most sustainable fishing methods, being low intensity and safe for the seabed.

Chef Mitch Tonks, who runs the Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth and the Rockfish restaurant chain in the southwest, believes we can make good seafood choices by following one simple principle: buy fish caught by British fishermen. . “The UK fishing fleet is well managed and sticks to strict controls, such as quotas and the number of days at sea,” says Tonks, who is a pioneer in locally caught seafood. “If we start to think that all of our fish will come from guys going out to sea with a pipe and a yellow raincoat, that’s not going to happen.” “

Whether we like it or not, Tonks argues, beam trawlers have long been part of the UK fishing fleet and are responsible for catching 90% of the fish landed at Brixham and Newlyn, two of Grande’s largest fish markets. -Brittany. “If you’re saying you shouldn’t eat anything from a beam trawler, you’re suggesting something that’s unapproachable,” Tonks says. “My point of view is to buy from the British, to find out which fishing port the fish come from, and hope we can put enough pressure on the industry to change.”

Tonks urges consumers to choose fish with the “blue check mark” ecolabel, which is only applied to sustainable seafood certified to the fishing standard of the Marine Stewardship Council, of which he is the ambassador. Many restaurants, fish markets, and fish and chips also sell MSC-certified seafood, so it’s a good idea to ask before you buy. Over 70% of cod and 76% of haddock consumed in the UK is now MSC labeled, so sustainable options are readily available if you seek them out. The best farmed seafood options carry the Aquaculture Stewardship Council label.

Whether you want to shop for British seafood, opt for blue tick labeled fish, or dig into fishing techniques, every little bit of effort can lead to changes for the better, says Coombes. “When people sit down and pay attention to this stuff and make the right choices, it can make all the difference. ”

Good fish exchanges, according to the Marine Conservation Society


British stocks are doing poorly, but in Iceland and the north-eastern Arctic they are at sustainable levels.

To trade for: hake, now a great sustainable choice.


Sustainability depends on the species, location and fishing methods.

To trade forLine-caught mackerel (caught in the southwest is best, but any mackerel caught in the UK is good).


May be sustainable depending on the species and where and how they were caught or reared. Choose organic, MSC or ASC labels.

To trade for: string mussels or farmed oysters, which do not need any food or chemicals and get everything they need from the sea.


Wild Atlantic salmon are not doing well and most farmed salmon need to improve. ASC certified organic and Scottish farmed salmon is the best choice.

To trade for: Farmed Arctic char, ideally from the UK, or farmed rainbow trout.

Other good choices

Haddock from the British seas as well as Iceland and the North East Arctic is sustainable.

Dover Sole from the Bristol Channel and the Western Channel are booming.

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This notice was published: 2021-09-21 15:47:43

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