What’s the problem?
According to the Marine Conservation Society, 90% of global fish stocks are fully or overexploited and between 30-40% of UK fish stocks are overfished. Add to that pollution and climate change and it’s not hard to see why the world’s oceans are in bad shape.
There’s no arguing that something needs to be done if we want to protect marine life and preserve fish stocks for future generations. As a consumer, that means enjoying fish and seafood in a more considerate way.
What can we do about it?
For some, cutting out fish altogether is the only way but for those who want to eat seafood there is a more sustainable option. Choosing a species that has a healthy population is a must, as is knowing where it came from and how it was caught.
Beam trawling and dredging can destroy the seabed and cause great harm to habitats, whereas static nets, handlines or pots do far less damage to the marine environment and are therefore considered ‘low impact’.
Checking where the fish you fancy eating comes from is also important as fishing standards and regulations are different around the world. Locally caught sustainable fish will also have a lower carbon footprint.
Logos and questions
Sustainable seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council Fishery Standards will carry the ‘blue tick’ eco-label, while the best farmed seafood will have the Aquaculture Stewardship Council label.
As well as looking out for logos, ask questions. How and where was it caught, and what size was the fishing boat (small boats of under 10m have much less impact) are good things to know. If you’re shopping at a chippy, check where they source their fish.
Tasty options for sustainable fish and chips
Because of high demand, not many cod populations are at healthy levels so swap for a yummy alternative like Cornish hake. Or change it up with Pacific salmon, handline caught mackerel or Dover sole (check where it’s from first).
Feeling shellfish? Farmed oysters, scallops, mussels and their bivalve buddies might just be the most planet-friendly of all. Find out more about sustainable species with the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide.
If you’re making fish and chips at home, have all the best tips and recipes to hand to create the perfect dish. There’s a lot at stake here: crispy batter, best oil to use, frying method and what to serve on the side (curry sauce? Mushy peas?)
Finally, the perfect chip can also make or break this glorious meal – after all, it is fish and chips – so check out our guide to the very best ActiFry chips to cook up a batch worthy of your sustainable fish this Fryday.