The second instalment of Blue Planet landed last Sunday, documentarian Sir David Attenborough has called for urgent action on plastics in order to protect our oceans. Not only have our seas become polluted to unprecedented levels, they are also dangerously overfished.
Research suggests that the world now consumes more fish than ever before, indicating that on average we gorge around 20 kilos per year, per person. With stocks tumbling, our marine life is in trouble. Earlier this year, The Marine Conservation Society removed Haddock, one of the UK’s most popular fish, from its ‘green’ list of fish to eat when levels of the chippy favourite fell to dangerous levels in three North Sea and West Scotland fisheries.
So what can we do as consumers to help alleviate the stress on our fish stocks? [Smiths] Magazine brings you four ways to eat fish more sustainably.
1) Get an app
We use them for pretty much everything else, so why not to help us eat more sustainably?
Forbes Magazine lists its top 3 sustainable seafood apps as ‘Seafood Watch’, ‘FishPhone’ and ‘Safe Seafood’. Chef Mitch Tonks has an app ‘East Fish with Mitch Tonks’ which comes with recipes that will have you cooking up a sustainable storm in no time.
2) Avoid the ‘big’ 5
A good start is to avoid the ‘big 5’ which refers to the five species of fish most commonly eaten in the UK – Cod, Haddock, Tuna, Salmon and Prawns. There are whole oceans out there and literally ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ – next time you do your food shopping be a try something you’ve never had before.
3) Buy local
Keeping it close to home not only supports your local fishermen, but it also means that your fish is likely to have less of a carbon footprint and is usually cheaper. The local market or fishmonger will usually provide more variety than most supermarkets too. Mackerel is readily available throughout the year and isn’t endangered. Sardines and pilchard are also abundant in the seas off the coast of Cornwall.
4) Make sure it’s line-caught
Trawling is an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the sea floor literally trawling, as the name suggests, everything in its path. This means that unwanted fish often get caught in the net, perish and are discarded. This is why it’s a good idea to check that your fish is line-caught.
Labelling on fish in supermarkets can be quite poor which means that trying to find line-caught can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff at the fish counter.
Words, Matthew Mathers @MattEm90
Pic: Connie (Flickr)