So, you’ve seen seaspiracy, and you’re worried.
We all should be.
Every year we harvest millions of tons of food from the sea like it’s some inexhaustible resource.
And it’s been going on for decades.
Since around the time of the 2nd world war, when we turned technologies like sonar developed to catch and kill submarines on fish.
Meanwhile, we keep on pouring sewage, chemicals and plastic into the sea without a care in the world.
While global warming and the burning of fossil fuels causes rising sea levels and temperatures, bleached coral reefs and dwindling habitats. Endangering every living organism in the sea.
And as if things weren’t bad enough, we now have the specter of deep-sea mining raising its ugly head.
You’re probably thinking this sounds like some fishy doomsday scenario and that maybe you should stop eating seafood altogether.
Or worse, adopt the attitude…
‘Sure, I’ll eat it now because who knows when it will all be gone.’‘
Which is something I’d urge you not to do. Because the good news is there’s lots of tasty sustainable seafood around once you know where to find it.
And although we’re not scientists or marine biologists, we’ve nevertheless come up with a list of strategies that we hope will set you on the path to buying, cooking, and eating sustainable seafood.
Here’s what’s coming up.
- Sign The Greenpeace Petition To Protect The Oceans And Ban Beam Trawling. (2 Minutes)
- Make Finding Sustainable Seafood Easy By Downloading Your Local App, list, Or Pocket Guide. (5 minutes)
- Learn A New Skill. Buy A Whole Fish And Learn How To Gut, Fillet, And Cook It All. (30 Minutes)
- Save the Ocean And Your Wallet. A few Sustainable, Tasty, And Thrifty Recipes To Try. (1 hour)
- Buy With A Clear Conscience When You See The Blue MSC Logo.
- Give Shrimp a Break and Try Some Delicious Mussels instead.
- When only shrimp will do.
- Have A Guilt-Free Lunch When You Buy Farmed Fish With The ASC Logo.
- Give Salmon A Rest And Try Some Delicious Arctic Char Instead.
- Not Ready To Give Up On Salmon? Neither Was I. Here’s How To Get Some A bit More sustainably.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And Support your Local Economy By Eating Sustainable Native Species.
- Find A Local Fishmonger To Trust.
- Get Healthy And Live Longer By Going On The Reductionist Diet.
- Make Some New Friends By Joining An Online Seafood Cookery Community. (5 minutes).
- Take All The Hassle Out Of Shopping For Sustainable Seafood By Getting It Delivered Straight To Your Door.
- Want To Understand Sustainable Seafood? Watch These Two Videos (30 Minutes).
- Sink Your Teeth Into A Tasty Invasive Species.
- Get Healthy And fight Climate Change By doing A Bit Of Seaweed Cookery.
- Share This Article On Social Media.
1. Sign The Greenpeace Petition To Protect The Oceans And Ban Beam Trawling. (2 Minutes)
Bottom trawling has been with us for centuries.
But it wasn’t until the 1970s that things took a turn for the worse.
An increase in the number of trawlers deploying a beam and using rollers on ground ropes allowed any ship big enough to trawl grounds previously considered unfishable.
In the past, their gear would have been ripped up on rocks beneath the waves.
But now, fishermen with bigger boats and more powerful engines found they could catch an even more diverse range of species at deeper depths that were previously out of reach.
At the time, we were unaware of the consequences, but even now, some 40 years later, we’re still at it.
Never mind the destruction of the seabed.
Or the wipeout of whole marine habitats and the massive bycatch of fish we don’t even want to eat but are essential to other sea creatures like dolphins, seals and turtles.
These days, it’s not uncommon for a net the size of a football field and as high as a two-story building to be dragged along the sea bed, leaving ripped delicate coral, dead shellfish, and destruction in its wake.
Beam trawling has been responsible for the collapse of numerous fish species.
And as if things weren’t bad enough, it also disturbs carbon dioxide on the seafloor adding to dangerous greenhouse gases and global warming.
It’s past time we ended this destructive fishing practice, especially since there’s plenty of other less harmful ways to catch fish. And you can do your bit by signing the Greenpeace petition below.
Various governments have promised to take action to protect the seas by setting up marine protected areas (M.P.A’S) where fishing by super trawlers deploying a beam would be banned.
But these promises have not been kept.
Fishing in these areas hasn’t been made illegal, and massive boats still haul large catches out of these regions with impunity.
Greenpeace has now taken matters into its own hands and is dropping massive boulders onto the sea bed to prevent fishing in these protected zones.
We must support them in their efforts by signing their petition and making their voice heard.
While You’re There.
While you’re on the Greenpeace website, there are a few other things you can do to show your support.
First off, you can take their sustainable seafood challenge here.
Then if you live in the United States, follow that up by signing their petition asking your local store to stock more sustainable seafood.
Most importantly, join the campaign to protect the oceans.
Sign the petition to ban beam trawling and protect the oceans
Make your voice heard!
The more of us who sign up, the more pressure there will be ongovernments to agree on a solid Global Ocean Treaty at the UN. Which will help provide ocean sanctuaries around the globe to save the seas.
2. Make Finding Sustainable Seafood Easy By Downloading Your Local App, list, Or Pocket Guide (5 minutes)
Sustainability always seems to be a constantly moving target when it comes to seafood.
And figuring out which fish is sustainable is a tough ask of the average Joe in the street.
Because while a particular type of fish might be classified as sustainable where you live, move a few thousand miles away, and the same species could be overfished and under pressure.
But this isn’t the only reason sustainable seafood is such a complex and confusing issue.
Conflicting advice from different guides causes a fair bit of head-scratching among consumers.
A different body will have compiled every sustainable seafood guide you come across, and they’ll all have opposing values, objectives, and priorities.
While marine scientists tell us one thing, conservationists will tell us another, and the fishing industry or government agencies yet another.
Each group will interpret scientific data differently and have contrasting views on the resilience of any particular fishery.
So, who should you listen to?
Well, it’s always good to get some independent advice.
And in that regard, seafood watch from Monterey Bay is hard to beat.
What Is Seafood Watch
For more than 20 years, seafood watch has been the global leader of the sustainable seafood campaign.
And there’s a lot to like about their guides.
Science-backed recommendations, an easy-to-understand traffic light rating system and a handy search feature allow you to find out what species are sustainable at the touch of a button.
Download Your Sustainable Seafood Guide.
Seafood watch’s focus is on the North American market. So we’ve used a combination of guides from the WWF and the marine conservation society to fill in our map.
Each has a similar set of standards and uses a science-backed approach to compile its guides.
Unfortunately, we could not find a guide for every country on the planet.
So if you clicked on your region and nothing happened, that’s why.
But if you know of a good sustainable seafood guide we missed, let us know in the comments or by email, and we’ll happily add it to the map.
Other Fish Guides Worth A Mention
With the United States being such a vast country with coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific, what’s sustainable varies depending on where you live.
In the UK, there’s a great Cornish seafood guide here which is great for anyone living in England.
While over in Australia, there’s a cool site called goodfishbadfish, which has a handy seafood converter that gives alternative species to cook along with tips and recipes.
How To Make These Guides Work For You
Sustainable seafood guides come in for a lot of criticism.
Critics point to the fact that as well as being confusing, they don’t consider the social and economic impact restricting any fishery’s catch will have.
But here’s the thing.
A handy guide you can pull up on your phone is a great place to start for consumers clueless on the subject.
Because all you have to do is look up the fish you cook most to see if it’s sustainable. And if you don’t get the green light, then swap it out for a similar species that’s good to go.
For example, say you live in the US, and you like to chow down on bluefin tuna (who doesn’t?). A quick look at your guide will tell you they’re unsustainable.
It’s then easy to switch to skipjack tuna, a far more sustainable species, and have a guilt-free lunch.
That’s the best way to use these guides. It’s that simple.
3. Learn A New Skill. Buy A Whole Fish And Learn How To Gut, Fillet, And Cook It All (30 Minutes)
Why is it that when it comes to fish, we just eat the fillets?
With meat, there’s barely a part of the animal that isn’t turned into a sausage, a pudding, or a pie. And nose to tail eating was all the rage a few years back.
But with seafood, most of the time, most of the fish ends up in the trash.
It’s past time we used more of each fish we catch.
The head, skin, frame, belly, collar and offal add up to about 50% of the gross weight of most fish.
And as conscientious cooks, it’s a bit of an insult to the animal not to make more use of these additional cuts.
And without a doubt, the best way to do it is to buy your fish whole and learn to butcher it yourself.
Not only will you have the option of cooking every part, but it will also be easier on your wallet as fishmongers charge a premium for the privilege of filleting a fish for you.
You could, of course, ask your fishmonger to give you these offcuts, and they’ll happily provide you with the head and frame of the fish, which you should make use of in a fish stock.
But you’ll find some fishmongers might be a bit more reluctant to give you other morsels like the collar, belly, or tail unless you’re a good customer because most like to use these up in fish cakes and chowder/pie mixes.
Which is something you can do at home yourself. But why stop there?
There are plenty of other ways to use leftover fish bits, and here potatoes, pulses, rice, eggs, and pasta are your best friends.
Think creamy seafood tagliatelle, an intensely flavoured fishy frittata, or a quick risotto made from a fragrant stock infused with bright saffron and some fresh herbs from your garden.
Admittedly, the offcuts from one fish probably aren’t going to give you enough to work with. But pop them in the freezer, let them build up, and it won’t be long till you have a free meal for 4.
But before you can knock up any of these thrifty dishes, you’ll need to know how to clean, scale, and fillet a fish.
How To Fillet A Fish
Fish filleting is a skill. But one that’s not too difficult to master. All you need is a sharp knife and a little bit of know-how.
And if you haven’t a clue about approaching this slippery business, YouTube is a great place to start.
There’s a ton of seafood butchery videos available online for your viewing pleasure. Below is a link to the best I found for anybody who’s never filleted a fish before.
Of course, there’s more than one type of fish. And more than one way to fillet.
From lobster, crab and oysters. To mackerel, cod, snapper and sole. The above 47 videos from seafish offer no-nonsense waffle free in-depth tuition and take you through how to prepare all the popular seafood types.
Best of all, they’re free to watch.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the chances are you’ll make a complete hash of the first few fish you fillet.
The best advice is to get a sharp knife, keep it as close to the bone as possible, and work slowly.
Trust me. You won’t be long getting the hang of it.
4. Save the Ocean And Your Wallet. A few Sustainable, Tasty, And Thrifty Recipes To Try (1 hour)
Once you can fillet and break down a fish, it will leave you with a whole host of new culinary experiences to try.
All the parts you’d typically keep for the cat, like the roes, hearts, spleens, livers, and even the scales and blood, are all fit for human consumption.
And award-winning chef Josh Niland serves them all up in his Sidney restaurant Saint Peters which was recently shortlisted in the world’s best restaurants ethical thinking category.
You don’t have to travel down under to try any of these culinary delights, as Josh has kindly written a groundbreaking book aptly titled the whole Fish Cookbook (you can check it out here)
And below is just a little taste of some of the more unusual recipes you’ll find inside.
- Fish black pudding.
- Fried fish scales.
- Smoked hearts, spleens & roe.
- Glazed fish throats.
- Puffed fish skin.
- Liver with lemon jam
- Fish collar cutlet
- Fish head terrine
And no, this isn’t the menu for the latest bush tucker trial on I’m a celebrity, and I do realise that some of these recipes might be a step too far for many people.
But for some of the more adventurous cooks out there, who might be willing to give them a go, Josh has this advice.
‘Attempting fish offal at home for the first time can feel intimidating. My best advice would be to start with something as basic as a fish liver on toast.‘Josh Niland
But if you just don’t like offal or have a bit of a mental block consuming the so-called nasty bits, there’s a couple of dishes you can try that you might find a bit more palatable. Starting with.
Crispy Fish Skin.
You’ll often come across a recipe that will tell you to remove the skin from the fish before you cook it.
And with some cooking methods like poaching or steaming, you’ll definitely want it off because it just goes rubbery and will be inedible the minute it hits any moist heat.
But why bin it when you can knock up a delicious snack or use it to garnish almost any fish dish.
Deep-fried fish skins have an intense savoury flavour and taste a bit like a fishy pork scratching. Crisp, salty, and ideal for dipping in a big bowl of tartar sauce, salsa verde, or garlic aioli.
Here’s how to make some.
Deep-fried crispy fish skins.
Pour a layer of oil about 2 inches deep into a heavy-based pan and heat to 180c/356f. Meanwhile, check your fish skins for any scales before slicing them in strips about a half-inch wide. Once the oil has reached temperature, dip the fish skins in seasoned flour and drop gently into the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes till golden, then drain well on paper towels. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt and serve with your favourite dipping sauce (tarter or garlic aioli work well). Or use them as a finishing flourish on any fish dish.
The pelts of most fish work well in this recipe, but bream, bass, and salmon tend to be the best. While the skins of really oily fish like mackerel or sardines are a bit too thin to bother with.
Anyone Fancy A Fish Head?
If there’s one fish body part that’s nearly always tossed in the trash here in the west, then it’s the head.
However, out in Asia, it’s considered quite a delicacy.
I can remember visiting Singapore, and fish head curry was quite common on many restaurant menus and out there, it’s considered a classic.
I did give it a go, but unfortunately, it proved far too fiery for my weak Irish pallet.
But if you think you’ve got the constitution for it, There’s a great recipe here on Rasa Malaysia.
Curry isn’t the only way to cook a fish head and stick with me here, but they’re delicious simply roasted in the oven with some olive oil, a little garlic, and a few of your favourite herbs.
Here’s how it’s done.
Roasted Fish Head With Citrus Dressing
Remove the gills from the fish head. Then wash well, remove any traces of blood, and pat dry with kitchen paper—Preheat the oven to160c, line a roasting tin with greaseproof paper and some sprigs of thyme. Place the fish head in the tray and drizzle with olive oil. Then cook in the oven for 25 minutes, basting every 5 with the cooking juices.
While the fish is cooking, make the dressing. Peel and cut two segments from an orange and a lemon, then squeeze the remaining pulp into a bowl. Add one finely diced shallot, two tablespoons of olive oil, and a few shredded basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper, then add back in the segments and set aside.
Once the fish is cooked, cover with foil and rest for a couple of minutes. To serve, slice a tomato onto each plate then pull all the meat from the fish head and place it onto the tomatoes. Spooning over some of the cooking juices. Give the dressing a good stir and pour it over the moist, succulent meat.
(recipe from Tom Kitchen’s fish & shellfish)
You might be thinking that it’s hardly worth you while cooking up any of these recipes as there’s barely any meat on a fish head.
And with some species, you’d be right. But one head from a 3-4kg cod, pollock, coley, ling, or snapper is enough to feed two people when teamed up with a bit of rice or pasta.
And when you roast a fish head till caramelised, crisp, and blistering in a hot oven, it imparts a distinctively rich flavour to the meat that’s difficult to resist.
With the added benefit that you get to scoff down one of the most prized cuts of all. The moist, succulent, and juicy cheeks.
Now that you’ve got the knowledge to cook a whole fish, fin to gill, it’s time to get some sustainable seafood to try these recipes out.
5. Buy With A Clear Conscience When You See The Blue MSC Logo.
One of the easiest things you can do when you’re out shopping for some seafood is to look for the blue MSC ecolabel on any fish you’re buying before you throw it in your basket.
The MSC is the marine stewardship council. An international non-profit organisation that promotes healthy oceans and aims to secure seafood supplies into the future.
They do this by assessing fisheries around the globe based on their sustainability and how it’s managed to reduce any environmental impact.
The MSC don’t just certify any fishery willy nilly.
Getting their ecolabel on a product is a long, drawn-out process that can take 12 to 18 months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and involve many independent bodies, scientists, and marine experts.
The whole procedure is designed to be transparent and trustworthy. Anybody can participate, and anybody can object.
And it doesn’t stop there. Because once a fishery is certified, there are ongoing annual audits to maintain standards and failure to comply results in certification being withdrawn.
The MSC recently suspended their certification of eight herring and blue whiting fisheries in the North Atlantic.
So, I’ll be cutting back on my kipper consumption for a while, which is a bit of a shame. Breakfast just won’t be the same.
But not to worry, as there are still hundreds of MSC certified seafood products available at every price point, no matter your taste.
And it isn’t just the cheap and cheerful species like mackerel, haddock and hake, that get approved either.
But the more extravagant, prawns, lobster, and caviar too.
Where To Get MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood
Although the MSC has been around for over 20 years, you used to have a hard time finding their label on any fish.
But it’s becoming a more common sight with many leading retailers like Aldi, Walmart, and Tescos all stocking eco-labelled sustainable seafood.
Evan Mcdonald’s uses MSC certified Hoki or Pollock in their fillet o’ fish burger and happy meals, so you don’t have to feel guilty about a drive through the golden arches.
Below is a handy list of retailers who sell MSC certified seafood. Hopefully, there’s a store near you.
|United States||United Kingdom||Canada||Australia|
|Wallmart||Waitrose||Federated Co-op||The fish shoppe|
|Safeway||Iceland||Longos||Harley and johns|
|Price Chopper||Amazon||Metro||New world|
|ShopRite||Ocado||No Frills & Zehrs||Prime fish Australia|
|Whole foods market||Morrisons||Real Canadian|
They also have a handy search feature here that can help you find a nearby stockist.
If there’s one easy tactic you can use from this article to get your hands on some sustainable seafood, then buying fish with the MSC label is it.
And the best thing is that the more us that ask for and buy it, the more retailers will take notice and begin to sell it.
As consumers, we have the power. We dictate what sells by what we buy.
6. Give Shrimp a Break and Try Some Delicious Mussels instead.
Shrimp cocktail, scampi, and prawns pil pil.
Yes, indeed, I’m a man who loves his shrimp. And I’m not the only one. The global consumption of shrimp reached a massive 4.66 Million Tons in 2018.
But unfortunately, a lot of the shrimp eaten nowadays are imported from the tropics and farmed, often unsustainably and with a massive carbon footprint.
Aquaculture in some of these areas has been linked to the destruction of vast areas of mangrove forest, the rape of the seabed to provide feed, the use of antibiotics to control disease, chemicals to manage waste, and even human rights abuses.
Mussels, on the other hand, require little looking after. They don’t need to be fed and don’t defecate everywhere either.
Mussels are filter feeders, one of the few shellfish species that leave the sea better than they found it.
Their primary food source is plankton and microbes, naturally present in the ocean anyway. And by eating them, mussels keep oxygen levels in check, which helps prevent algal blooms that can harm other types of marine life.
Mussels are plentiful, easy to cook, pair well with lots of different flavours, are high in omega 3, and are cheap as chips compared to shrimp (a couple of pounds will set you back less than $10)
I do realise that a big bowl of plump, meaty mussels might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I reckon it’s the texture more than the flavour that most people have a problem with.
So, if you think you don’t like mussels, then give this classic little recipe a go.
Mussels Gratin with garlic and parmesan.
Wash your mussels well in a couple of changes of cold water and pull off any beards. Add them to a pan with a glass of white wine and steam till open over a high heat. Pull off the top shell and line the mussels up on a baking tray before adding a half teaspoon of garlic butter to each one. Sprinkle the mussels with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, then place under a hot grill till golden and bubbling. Enjoy.
And the great news is that mussels aren’t the only type of shellfish that fall into the sustainable category.
Although a bit more expensive, their bivalve cousins clams and oysters are also filter feeders with low carbon footprints, which you can chow down on with a clear conscience.
7. When only shrimp will do.
If you’re not that into mussels and want to continue eating shrimp but sustainably, then the bad news is you’re going to have to pay for it.
Because most sustainable shrimp are either wild-caught, using pots, which results in little or no bycatch.
Or farmed organically in land-based recirculating tanks.
Both are time-consuming and a bit more labour-intensive than just dragging a net along the bottom of the sea bed.
So, where do you find these sustainable shrimp?
Well, we’re pretty lucky here in Ireland and the U.K as we have the abundant cold water North Atlantic prawns right on our doorstep, which are excellent in cocktails, salads, and sandwiches.
There are also sustainable creel caught langoustine fisheries dotted around the coast. But these tasty crustaceans are expensive and just a very occasional treat.
While if I ever get a craving for the sweet-tasting flesh of tiger prawns, I know I can get them sustainably from the happy prawn company, which farms them ethically in Indonesia without any chemicals or antibiotics. You can check them out here.
Sustainable Shrimp In The USA.
If you live in the United States, your choice of sustainable wild shrimp is limited to just the pink shrimp from the Pacific coast and the spot prawn from British Columbia.
But farmed shrimp from closed ecosystems are also a viable option. However, finding out exactly how these farmed shrimp are raised is difficult as the labelling on some packaging can be a little ambiguous.
Look for either Pacific white shrimp or the giant tiger prawn as these are the two most commonly farmed in the USA and will be a better and much more sustainable product than anything imported.
The woods fisheries brand is also well known for their sustainable shrimp from inland recirculating tanks, and you can learn more about them here.
Check out wild American shrimp if you’re having trouble getting hold of any. They have a directory of retailers who do online deliveries here.
Sustainable Shrimp In Australia.
Down under, they’ve been throwing shrimp on the barbie for years.
This hasn’t put much of a dent in their wild stocks of native shrimps as they have one of the best-managed fisheries in the world.
So, lucky Aussies can BBQ up king, banana, tiger, and endeavour prawns to their heart’s content depending on the season.
Wild stocks are supplemented by a growing shrimp farming industry located on old sugar cane farms situated around the northern coast of Queensland and New South Wales.
And nearly all these farms raise their shrimp in land-based ponds that have little or no impact on the surrounding environment.
It’s also mandatory in Australia to put the country of origin on all shrimp packaging, making it easy for you to know precisely where your shrimp come from.
8. Have A Guilt-Free Lunch When You Buy Farmed Fish With The ASC Logo.
There was a time when I naively thought that fish farming was the answer to all our sustainable seafood problems.
Turns out I was just a little bit ignorant of the environmental impact some forms of aquaculture have.
Because even if you can look past the escaping fish. The chemicals and antibiotics used to control disease and the vast amount of waste fish farming produces.
There’s still one glaring issue….. fish eat other fish.
And most of the time, that means wild fish scooped out of the ocean, ground up into pellets, and fed to farmed fish in vast quantities.
While once it took about 6lbs of wild fish to produce 1lb of farmed, the industry, to its credit, has got the ratio down to about 2:1. Which still strikes me as a bit unsustainable.
Luckily, you can ease some of the environmental worries you have about farmed fish by looking out for the ASC label on any seafood down the market.
Who Are The ASC?
ASC stands for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, a non-profit working to make fish farming more sustainable.
Thousands of scientists, trade specialists, and NGOs have helped develop the ASC’s standards.
And any farm hoping to get certified must comply with strict guidelines concerning social impacts, the quality of water, and the use of antibiotics and chemicals,
But perhaps most importantly, certified farms are independently audited and must source their feed responsibly according to the ASC’s standard.
This requires farms to obtain ingredients for feed in a holistic way from socially responsible suppliers who use raw materials with a low environmental impact. (You can read more about the ASC’s feed standard here)
Where To Get ASC Certified Seafood.
The ASC currently certifies twelve types of seafood. Salmon, shrimp, tilapia, freshwater trout, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, abalone, amberjack, cobia, seabass and seabream.
Retail partners include Lidl, Ikea and Walmart.
And the organisation has made it easy to find its sustainable seafood stockiest with a handy search function on its website.
Search For A Certified Farm, Supplier Or Product
Aquaculture is necessary to feed the world’s growing population. And there are a lot of fish farms out there moving to a new sustainable model (more on this a little later)
If you get seafood regularly, keep an eye out for ASC ecolabel.
Buying their certified fish supports their work and the push to raise standards so that everybody’s fish consumption is just that little bit more socially and environmentally responsible.
9. Give Salmon A Rest And Try Some Delicious Arctic Char Instead.
Anybody under the age of 50 might find this hard to believe, but there was a time when salmon was considered a luxury ingredient.
It was scarce, expensive, and only served in the finest restaurants to those we could afford to pay.
The advent of salmon farming changed all that. And once it became available to the masses, we all fell in love with it.
And there’s a lot to love. Salmon is high in omega 3 and pairs well with lots of different ingredients and cooking methods.
Best of all, it’s one of the easiest and most forgiving fish to cook.
You can undercook it and serve it a little pink (delicious). While if you overdo it by a few minutes it will still taste fine because of its high-fat content.
But it’s past time we broke off this love affair.
Without tarring every salmon farm with the same brush, many of them are just too unsustainable.
Sourcing feed, controlling sea lice, and escaping fish are enormous problems for the industry.
There was mass panic in Washington state in 2017 when a pen containing 250000 farmed salmon accidentally came apart, allowing all the fish to escape.
The fear was the farmed fish would mate with the wild, weakening the species and their ability to survive.
While at the same time transferring parasites like sea lice decimating wild salmon and seatrout runs. A complaint that is often levelled at salmon farms in this part of the world by sports anglers.
The accident caused enough anxiety that salmon farming has been banned in the state and will be outlawed from 2025.
Why You Should Switch To Arctic Char.
Farmed Arctic char, on the other hand, is far more sustainable and has the same omega 3 rich health profile.
A cousin of the salmon family, you can cook it in all the same ways.
It has a very similar taste if a little richer with a higher fat content that makes it even more forgiving to cook than its farmed salmon relative.
Mostly framed on land-based tanks, there’s zero chance of escapes and any wastewater is often turned into fertiliser. It needs less fish in its diet too which makes it a more efficient converter of plant to protein.
Where To Get Arctic Char.
Arctic Char can be tricky to get your hands on. Many fish markets and mongers don’t stock it because it’s not a popular species, and any investment they make is unlikely to be recouped.
But if you want to give it a go, we’ve hunted down a few suppliers who sell it online.
Find An Arctic Char Supplier Near You.
Crowd cow sources its Arctic char from ASC certified Icelandic fish farm’s. Comes in a 12oz pack.
With a low carbon footprint. Weyfish get their Arctic char fresh from nearby Houghton Springs Farm in Dorset.
Farmed in Iceland. Seafood’s Arctic Char comes frozen either as a 5/6oz portion or by the 10lbs case
The farmed Atlantic salmon as a species is with up to stay. Which will be music to the ears of everybody who loves it.
But if you’re going to keep eating it then you need to think about exactly where it comes from and try to minimise your fish suppers environmental impact.
And we’ve got a few strategies to help you do just that.
10. Not Ready To Give Up On Salmon? Neither Was I. Here’s How To Get Some A bit More sustainably.
I could probably get through the rest of my life without eating another piece of salmon except for one thing.
I love it smoked.
I can’t resist it for breakfast with scrambled eggs or on a slab of brown soda bread covered in real butter, and it’s a key ingredient in any seafood salad or platter.
If you’re like me and not quite ready to give up on salmon altogether, how do you get a hold of some responsibly?
Well, there’s a couple of options, but like sustainable shrimp, you’ll have to be prepared to pay a bit more and watch your carbon footprint too.
And like all things seafood, it very much depends on where you live.
The United States And Canada.
If you’re in the US or Canada, you’re in luck because you have the best-managed salmon fishery right on your doorstep in Alaska.
All five species of wild Pacific salmon: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Keta and Pink, are carefully monitored to guarantee sustainability.
And fishing can be heavily restricted at times to ensure enough fish return safely to their spawning grounds to breed.
Compared to farmed salmon, its wild counterpart tastes better. It has a deeper, richer orange colour with a denser, firmer flesh. It is also less oily since its constantly moving and swimming long distances.
And if it’s not available in a market near you, you can get some online from the Alaskan salmon company.
The Alaskan Salmon Company
Direct from the clear waters of the copper river in the wilds of Alaska. The Alaskan salmon company catches wild Pacific sockeye and coho using low impact fishing methods, resulting in little or no bycatch of other species.
Vacuum-sealed, then flash-frozen at peak freshness, You get the highest quality seafood, which you can order online for delivery straight to your door.
From Indoor Tanks
If you can’t get Alaskan salmon, the next best option is to go for fish from land-based recirculating tanks.
Moving fish farms off the ocean and onto dry land solves some but not all of the issues associated with salmon aquaculture.
Gone are the worries about escaping fish and waste pollution. However, there are still question marks about how the fish are fed and how large a carbon footprint the industry leaves.
After wild Alaskan salmon, this is the next best option. And you can get some land reared fish from sustainable blue.
Sustainable Blue Salmon
Sustainable blue set out to create the world’s most responsible salmon fishery.
They use a recirculating aquaculture system where the water is monitored, filtered, and recycled throughout the facility, with waste solids removed to produce power and no discharge into the environment.
This wholly enclosed system means fish are free of sea lice and other diseases, so there’s no need for antibiotics. Fed only marine protein of sustainable origin, without any hormones Sustainable Blue salmon has a firm, dense fillet, delicate flesh, and rich flavour that’s quite similar to the wild fish. Directory of stockists here.
Ireland And The UK
In this neck of the woods, there doesn’t seem to be any wild Atlantic salmon left that I can see. And land-based salmon farms are still a bit thin on the ground.
That only leaves us with your plain old battery farmed fish.
But not all of these salmon are the same.
Some are reared in a much more conscientious way than others. The best farms use cages with lower stocking densities and don’t feed their fish a cocktail of antibiotics, chemicals and growth hormones.
They’re also more transparent about what they are feeding their fish.
The two farms recommended below feed their fish on a responsibly sourced, high-quality natural diet, resulting in a better and more nutritious product for us.
Glenarm Organic Salmon
Raised in the crystal clear tidal currents of the Irish sea, Glenarm’s salmon get lot’s of exercise, which supports optimal growth and muscle formation.
Fed on a low-fat diet containing only natural and organic ingredients that’s GMO-free and made in a mill a mere 15 miles from the farm, they’re kept in pens with a low stocking density of just 10 kg per cubic meter.
Glenarm continually monitors the health and quality of their salmon to ensure that it matches the characteristics of the wild Atlantic fish.
Loch Duart Salmon
Loch Duart salmon is farmed as naturally as possible and has a lower stocking density of 15kg per cubic metre, less than the industry standard of 20.
The salmon feed mainly on wild capelin, a byproduct of the roe industry that comes from a quota-controlled fishery in Iceland – female capelins are harvested for their roe, and the flesh and carcass then go through Loch Duart’s fishmeal. Without the addition of growth promoters or antibiotics.
The resulting feed provides better nourishment for the salmon and gives it a more natural diet with high levels of omega 3.
Fully traceable, Loch Duart salmon grow up to three months longer than average, which results in a fish with eye-catching colour, a strong torpedo shape and firmer texture.
Unfortunately, a genuinely fully sustainable salmon product is still some way off. But if you’re still going to eat it, try to have it as an occasional treat. And find out exactly where it comes from and how it was raised before you buy.
11. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And Support your Local Economy By Eating Sustainable Native Species.
Chances are you’ve heard this old chestnut before.
Probably in the marketing material for some new food market. Or maybe as a tagline used by some high-end restaurant or cafe.
And it goes something like this…
‘We only use local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients in peak condition to ensure our food not only looks and taste amazing but is healthy and nutritious too.’
And although a slogan like this has become a bit of a cliche, it’s not a bad rule to live by when it comes to sustainable seafood.
Seafood became a globally traded commodity once we learned to sail the oceans and dry / salt fish.
In the intervening centuries, new technologies in preservation and quicker transportation links mean it’s now possible to get seafood from every corner of the globe down your local market.
You need to think twice before slipping it into your shopping basket because imported seafood comes at an environmental cost no matter where you live.
But there’s such a vast array of fish available. How do you know what’s local, sustainable, and what to avoid?
Well, if you live anywhere near the coast, you’re in luck. Because all you have to do is take a trip to your nearest fishing port, and the chances are you’ll be able to buy straight from the day boats that fish the local area.
And if the ships aren’t in, just get your fish from one of the shops that line the pier. Most fishing ports I’ve been in have them.
All the fish you’ll find here is local, more than lightly sustainably caught and in tip-top condition, being fresh off the boat.
If you don’t live near the coast you can still get seafood direct from fishermen by joining a community-supported fishery program (CSF). Find a CSF near you here.
If that isn’t an option either, the next best thing to do is….
12. Find A Local Fishmonger To Trust.
The independent fishmonger is a dying breed.
With most of us heading to the supermarket to get our fish, many have been forced out of business because they can’t compete.
If you’re lucky to have one close by, it’s where you should be getting your fish.
Most fishmongers are passionate about what they do. They’ll be off to the market early doors to pick out the finest specimens before filleting them and putting them on ice.
They’re knowledgeable, and you’ll be able to ask them all the important questions.
Is this sustainable? Where was it caught? How was it caught? What’s the best way to cook it?
Let me see a pimply-faced teenager behind the fish counter at the supermarket answer any of those thorny questions.
Best of all, a local fishmonger is unlikely to be getting his catch from the massive factory ships and beam trawlers that employ industrial fishing practices.
But instead from small scale fisheries that use low-impact fishing methods which don’t randomly damage ocean life.
And the fishermen who work small boats in coastal areas are not the bad guys. Often their families have lived in and fished the same spot for generations, and they’ve invested in their local communities.
They have a smaller quota and are up against big greedy corporations with massive boats whose only concern is how much money they can make.
We must support these local fishmongers and fishermen before they become an endangered species.
13. Get Healthy And Live Longer By Going On The Reductionist Diet.
For years environmentalists have been telling us we need to cut our consumption of animal products.
We all know that not only is eating too much meat bad for us, but it’s bad for the planet too, with meat production being a massive carbon emitter.
And this is where the reductionist diet comes in.
As its foundation says on its website, Reducetarianism isn’t a new idea. It’s just that the concept has now been given a name.
The strategy behind the diet is that it’s not an all or nothing approach. You don’t have to become a vegan or a vegetarian but instead can consciously decide to steadily cut your consumption of meat.
And if enough of us give the diet a go, it should result in a meaningful change in the world.
It’s a nice idea, but for seafood, you don’t need to split the sea into sustainable and unsustainable.
Because all seafood, even what’s classified as sustainable, comes at some sort of cost to the environment.
So when it comes to fish, go for smaller portions, teamed up with lots of fresh vegetables less frequently.
It’s a really easy win and a simple thing to do. If you want to know more about the reductionist diet and learn what you can do to help, check out the reducetarian foundation here.
14. Make Some New Friends By Joining An Online Seafood Cookery Community. (5 minutes)
If you’ve tried some of the tips in this article, then the chances are you’ve run into a species you’ve never cooked before.
Gone are those tried and trusted recipes you’ve used for years to whip up salmon, shrimp, cod, and tuna.
Now it’s time for some new ones to try on anchovies, mussels, abalone, Char or pollock. Cookbooks tend not to cover these types of seafood that well just because their not very popular (yet)
And although recipe blogs like this one can be a good resource (tongue firmly in cheek) online seafood cookey communities are better because their members are passionate, knowledgeable and love seafood.
Once you signup, you can swap recipes, ask for advice on how to cook any type of fish (trust me, somebody will know) and find out what sustainable seafood everyone else is cooking and where they get it.
But my favourite is chefstalk. It’s full of really knowledgeable cooks who are only too willing to answer any question and give opinions on any culinary topic.
When you’re looking for a bit of culinary inspiration, cookery communities are great places to go and free to join.
15. Take All The Hassle Out Of Shopping For Sustainable Seafood By Getting It Delivered Straight To Your Door.
We all lead hectic busy lives (well, we did before lockdowns, pandemics, and covid 19).
And no doubt there are people out there who just don’t have the time to learn about sustainable seafood, let alone go shopping for it.
Maybe you don’t live anywhere near the coast or have a decent fishmonger nearby, and your only option is to get your fish from the supermarket.
You love seafood and want to do the right thing, but it’s all just too much trouble.
If this sounds familiar, then the best thing you can do is get your sustainable seafood delivered straight to your door.
There are lots of online retailers around who offer this convenient service no matter where you live.
United States – Sea To Table.
In 2006 Sean Dimin founded Sea to Table, a boutique distributor that delivers fresh seafood from small scale artisanal fishers directly to fish lovers across the USA.
Passionate about the industry, sea to table work with a network of ethical fisheries in 18 American port cities.
They pay fishermen a fair price and eliminate many of the supply chain’s inefficiencies to offer competitive rates to consumers, which helps preserve vibrant fishing communities.
They also utilise filters based on the rankings systems of FishWise, Seafood Watch, and the Blue Ocean Institute. If a specific species is rated red by all three organisations, sea to table doesn’t sell it.
Popular species like salmon, cod, lobster and redfish are available. You can get them individually or in a combo box. There’s free shipping on orders over $99, and everything is usually despatched within 48 hours.
United kingdom – Sole Of Discretion.
Sole of discretion is a small scale co-op fishing out of Plymouth harbour.
Committed to securing seafood caught with as little damage to marine ecosystems as possible. Fishermen get paid a fair price for their catch agreed in advance, which boosts the local economy and rewards sustainable fishing methods.
Customers get top quality fish at a fair price that’s fully traceable, ultra-fresh and can be eaten with a clear conscience.
Run as a community interest company, sole of discretion rewards fishers for taking care of the seas
Owned by the local fishing community, profit is not the reason for its existence and any money made is ploughed back into the local industry.
They carry an excellent array of locally caught seafood here, shipped all over mainland UK with deliveries twice a week.
Canada – Skipper Otto.
Founded in 2008, Seafood Otto is a unique initiative that connects independent fishers direct with consumers through a whole new buying experience.
More like a club than a retailer, you pay up at the start of the fishing season. And once the catch is landed, you get access to an online portal to choose from a wide selection of species you won’t find anywhere else.
You then just order only the products and quantities you want for collection in multiple locations across Canada.
This system works well because fishermen know precisely how much fish to catch as it’s all pre-paid, and everyone gets a fair price.
They also switch their target species depending on what’s abundant and not what the market demands, which helps maintain biodiversity.
Best of all, it supports dozens of independent fishing families across BC, and protects the ocean and its resources while giving members direct access to wild seasonal seafood.
Australia – fair fish.
Down in Australia, Fair Fish, like skipper otto, is a community-supported fishery (CSF) that offers an alternative business model for local fishermen to sell their catch.
Customers simply sign up for the service, pay a fee, and are given access to an online platform where they select their seafood based on what’s been caught that day.
No particular species gets targeted, which helps sustainability and encourages community engagement and food traceability.
Based in Adelaide, fair fish have a good variety of seafood available and a lovely seasonal box costing just $40.
When buying seafood online, your probably going to be worrying about what sort of condition it will arrive in.
But most online retailers do a great job with deliveries. Their seafood is fresh or blast frozen, well chilled and packaged, then sent express delivery, arriving in tip-top shape ready for the pan. For busy seafood lovers, it’s the most convenient way to go.
16. Want To Understand Sustainable Seafood? Watch These Two Videos (30 Minutes)
Both of these guys are experts in the field, passionate about the subject, and have written books on the topic.
In the two videos below, they talk about all the problems facing seafood with regard to sustainability. As well as offer some solutions.
So if you have a half-hour to spare, you could do worse than listening to what they have to say and giving yourself a bit of an education.
These are two videos that could change the way you think about seafood. They are that good!
And this one from Sarah Schumann is an interesting watch too.
17. Sink Your Teeth Into A Tasty Invasive Species.
Also known as the eat ‘em to beat ‘em strategy, this one’s a bit controversial.
There’s a worry that if eating these invaders ever became too popular. We’d create a market for them where none exists, putting them in danger in their native habitat.
While also creating an economic incentive for their survival where they’re not wanted.
Which are all fair points.
From grey squirrels and zebra mussels around here. To feral olive trees and Asian carp in Australia. And wild boar, Burmese pythons and brown trout in the US.
Invasive species are a massive problem worldwide which globalisation has made worse.
They destroy plants, prey on and compete with native animals for resources and introduce disease.
While at the same time reproducing aggressively, negatively affecting biodiversity and adding little or no value as a food source.
But whether introduced by accident or design, invasive species often have unforeseen consequences, cause environmental havoc and controlling them costs billions.
So, Should We Eat Them?
This is something you’ll have to make up your own mind about.
But with many of the fish, we’d typically eat under so much pressure. Invasive species might become a food source we can’t ignore.
Many have become so well established that there’s little chance of eliminating them.
So, where do you find these invasive species, and more importantly, do they taste any good?
Well, the bad news is a lot of them are a bit inedible.
However, there are a few you can happily chow down on depending on where you are in the world.
Edible Invasive Fish Species In The United States.
And the prize for the tastiest invasive fish species in the US has got to go to the lionfish.
Originally from the Indian ocean. One or two of these impressive-looking fish escaped from an aquarium sometime in the 1980s. And have since been spotted all along the east coast from North Carolina to Florida.
An Indiscriminate hunter with a massive appetite, the lionfish outcompetes native species like snapper and grouper for food, reproduces rapidly and doesn’t have any predators of its own.
With a mild flavour and a firm white flaky flesh, lionfish works great raw as sashimi, sushi, or in a ceviche. While if you’re going to cook it, pan-searing is definitely the way to go.
Edible Invasive Fish Species In The United Kingdom.
Back in the 1970’s crayfish was considered somewhat of a luxury ingredient.
So it wasn’t long before somebody had the bright idea of importing the American red signal crayfish for farming purposes to supply the restaurant trade.
The native white crayfish was just too small and hard to catch to be of any use commercially.
But it all went horribly wrong.
And it wasn’t long before these American imports escaped their ponds and ran amock all over the south of England.
Capable of surviving out of water for three months, signal crayfish can burrow, climb, and scuttle along at quite a pace making them hard to contain.
They descended upon the native species who were no match—eating their eggs and infecting them with a deadly virus to which they were immune.
It’s now reckoned that the white native crayfish could be extinct within ten years.
But if you want to hunt down a couple yourself. You need to get permission and jump through a few hoops to get a licence.
Authorities worry that other protected species, most notability otters, could become entangled in crayfish traps.
What Do They Taste Like And How To Cook Them.
Think of crayfish like a prawn with a nearly identical texture but a flavour maybe not quite as sweet.
You can cook them in precisely the same way too. Think cocktails, in pasta or risottos, or sauteed in some garlic butter and a little white wine.
Their absolutely delicious and one fish you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.
Edible Invasive Fish Species In Australia.
Down under, they have a massive carp problem. First introduced in the 1800s to imitate the European environment, their population took a while to take off.
Fast forward 200 years, and it’s a fish that is one of Australia’s most significant pests making up 80% of the biomass in some rivers.
As well as all the usual problems you get with any invasive fish species, carp also harm irrigation, lower water quality and cause algae blooms.
Their not everyone’s cup of tea though. With a more robust flavour than most fish and a texture more akin to chicken their an acquired taste.
But if you want to give carp a go, check out Coorong Wild Seafood here.
A species with a slightly better reputation as a table fish is trout—another invasive pest in Australia.
With a taste not too dissimilar to salmon, you can cook it in all the same ways, and it’s quite lovely smoked.
Sadly all the trout you’ll see down the market is farmed. If you want to get a hold of the wild variety, then you’ll have to grab a rod and catch it yourself.
Edible Invasive Fish Species In Canada.
In Canada, like Australia, they also have a growing carp problem.
And like in the UK, there’s also an edible invasive crayfish from the southern united states Mississippi river.
But a special mention has to go to the European green crab. A species that stowed away in ships’ ballast water and crossed the Atlantic sometime in the 1800s.
Voracious feeders, they decimate clam and mussel fisheries up and down the eastern Atlantic coast as far as Maine costing millions.
They are edible and considered a delicacy in Italy, where they’re native.
Green crabs are small, and getting any meat out of them would be fidelity, so the crafty Italians wait till they moult their shell in springtime before frying them up. Recipe here
Though you could also make a tasty broth out of them like the guys over at edible Maine.
18. Get Healthy And fight Climate Change By doing A Bit Of Seaweed Cookery.
Coastal communities have been cooking with seaweed since prehistoric times, and it remained popular in Asia down the centuries.
It’s only in the last decade that it’s back in vogue as an ingredient here in the west and with a brand new name—the sea vegetable.
Made trendy again by celebrity chefs out foraging, seaweed is often touted as a superfood.
Loved by vegans and vegetarians for its high protein and B vitamin content (both of which can be lacking from their diet), Seaweed also has tons of fibre, iodine and micronutrients with little or no cholesterol.
If you’ve never eaten it before, you might be wondering what it tastes like?
And to be honest, it depends on the variety your using and how you’re going to cook it. Flavour profiles range from mild and slightly salty in nori or wakame to pungent and umami in kombu.
Ways to Use It.
Seaweed has many culinary applications, and innovative chefs keep coming up with more.
It can be the focal point of a dish like a salad or be a bit more inconspicuous and a background flavour in a dressing. It also works well in pesto, a tapenade, or a marinade.
Classics include Japanese dishes like dashi, miso and, of course, sushi. While more contemporary recipes count kelp burgers, tea, aioli and curry among their number.
Seaweed can also give a salty hit to baked goods like bread, scones, brownies and even ice cream.
Most interestingly, varieties like carrageen moss contain plant-based gelatin called agar that can set jelly, puddings and pastry creams that vegans otherwise wouldn’t be able to eat.
A Few Simple Recipes To Get You Started.
Cooking with seaweed is not all that straightforward. You need to know what type and how much to use. Do you use it dried or reconstitute it first? Does it need any pre-cooking before you throw it in the mix?
And although there are no doubt tons of recipes online. You can never beat a good book where all your questions get answered.
And Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen is a good one to start with. In it, you’ll find tons of exciting recipes (Asian and western) as well as a guide to all the edible types of seaweed.
But if you want to get straight down to it. Below are a couple of quick and easy seaweed recipes.
Herbed Seaweed salt
A flavoursome salt is one of the simplest things you can knock up when you get your hands on some seaweed. To make it, just put 50g (2oz) of hard herbs in your food processor (thyme & rosemary work well). Add 25g (1oz) of dried seaweed followed by 200g (7oz) of rock salt. Blitz together till smooth, and you’ve got an umami-packed seasoning that works well with not just fish but veggies and meat too.
Feel free to play around with this recipe. Throw in some cumin seeds, paprika or dried chillies to spice it up. Or maybe dill, parsley or cilantro if you’re using it as a cure.
Seaweed also works excellent as an infusion. It gives a nice saline hit to oils, butter, glazes and salsas. But another convenient recipe for budding seaweed cooks is vinegar. Recipe below.
Seaweed and cider vinegar
Place 200g (7oz) of cider in a medium-sized pan. Add in 50g (2oz) of sugar and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar and reduce it by half. Add in 70g (2.5oz) of fresh kombu followed by 250ml (1 cup) of cider vinegar. Bring back to the boil and remove immediately from the heat to infuse. Decant into a Kilner jar without passing the seaweed, so the flavour improves over time.
This leaves you with a unique flavour packed vinegar for use in dressings, sauces, and pickles. Or just to drizzle over french fries.
Where To Get Seaweed
Before we all rush off to the seaside, I want to point out that you need to know what you’re doing if you’re foraging seaweed.
There are hundreds of varieties, of which only around 12 are edible. So you’ve got to be able to identify them and not just pick anything you fancy willy nilly.
You also need to know how to harvest them responsibly without killing the plant.
The water needs to be pristine too. Seaweeds act like sponges absorbing any chemicals, pollution or sewage in the water. And doing a little foraging in the wrong area could make you seriously sick.
Finally, many seaweeds can’t be cooked in their pure form, or they wouldn’t taste great if they were. You can’t just throw them in a salad or stock and hope for the best. Most need to be dried before their fit for consumption.
Instead of foraging yourself, a far better option is to get some online or in a specialist shop. Below are a few companies that harvest sea vegetables in crystal clear waters for delivery straight to your door.
|United States||Atlantis sea farms||Learn more|
|UK||Mara seaweed||Learn more|
|Australia||Sea health products||Learn more|
|Ireland||Connemara seaweed||Learn more|
Seaweeds Green Credentials.
It isn’t only chefs who are coming up with new and innovative ways to use seaweed.
Scientists studying sea vegetation have found that it can play a massive role in combating climate change as a carbon sink.
Seaweed grows fast, requires no water or fertiliser, and has uses as biofuel and plastic.
They’ve even found that adding it to cattle feed can cut methane emissions from the beef industry by a whopping 90%.
I realise that calling
seaweed sea vegetables seafood and comparing them to fish as a form of protein is a stretch for some.
And many people simply don’t like the idea of eating something that washes up on the beach.
But with the world’s population expanding, seaweed could come in as a convenient food source down the line.
And as an industry in its infancy, it’s one we need to support.
19. Share This Article On Your Social Media.
Okay, so this one is unlikely to save the seas.
But If you enjoyed this article or found it useful, then maybe you could pay it forward by sharing it with your friends on your favourite social network.
The more people who have the knowledge to eat seafood more responsibly, the better. It’s easy to do and might make a small difference.
Wrapping Up – What Really Needs To Happen
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading till the end.
I didn’t intend for this post to become the 10,000 + word monster it is. I simply wanted to provide some practical and actionable advice for people who want to eat seafood sustainably.
Some of the tips in this post require little effort. While others need a bit more time and commitment.
And you’ll be happy to see there’s still plenty of seafood you can eat without having to worry about its sustainability.
Fishery management is improving all the time, and aquaculture is starting to use science and technology to limit its environmental impact.
Sadly, I can’t ignore the evidence of my own eyes, and after 30 years of cooking seafood, I sometimes wonder where all those big turbot, bass and crab have gone.
Global warming, pollution, illegal and industrial fishing, and the constant bickering between governments and vested interests are real and ongoing worries.
There have been talks about setting up marine protected areas. The research has been done, and scientists reckon that setting aside 30% of the world’s oceans from fishing would allow them to recover.
The guys who made seaspircy would have us believe that going vegan would solve all our problems.
But that just isn’t the case.
Because the question has got to be asked, If billions of people suddenly decided to stop eating meat and fish, where would we get all the protein we need?
How much land would need to be cleared? And how many trees would need to be felled to make space to grow all those lentils, chickpeas and vegetables?
Suppose you watched seaspircy and decided to go vegan. Good on you. It’s a worthy choice and undoubtedly helps the environment. But it’s not for everybody.
Millions of people in the developing world rely on seafood to make a living or as their primary source of protein, and we should let them have it because going vegan isn’t an option for them.
In the meantime, most of us need to put a bit more thought into our seafood consumption and move away from those species we know are in trouble like cod, tuna, ray and salmon.
Instead of eating seafood a couple of times a week, have it as an occasional treat. Go for a smaller portion teamed up with lots of fresh vegetables. Consult your fish guide to find a few different species and make the most of every fish you buy.
Stop consuming single-use plastic because a lot of it ends up in the sea, and recycle everything you can.
And remember there’s still plenty of sustainable fish to fry. Like oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, char, hake, anchovies, tilapia and lionfish. To name just a few……