The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is urging the British public to seek alternatives to the most popular seafood items. Choosing from a wider range of fish, will put less pressure on individual fisheries thus, demand for more sustainable and locally sourced seafood will be encouraged.
The Public Needs More Sustainable Favourites
In Britain, the public tends to favour cod, salmon, haddock, tuna and prawns. The MCS states that the public can help both the seas and the UK fishing industry by considering lesser known varieties of fish. This is especially relevant as Brexit negotiations develop, where talks are expected to try and secure a bigger share of the fishing industry.
The demand for more sustainable and local products needs to increase, because pressure on individual fisheries and the amount of fish that is currently imported needs to be reduced. Currently, 70% of the UK fish supply comes from oversees, making Britain the ninth largest importer of fish.
Familiarity Drives Fish Choices
One of the main issues with seafood is that UK consumers tend to stick with what they are familiar with and although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is certainly not sustainable.
Two celebrity chefs, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, have been promoting fish sustainability campaigns to boost public awareness. They are passionate about the food we eat and where it comes from, but the current industry figures indicate that 80% of seafood bought by British consumers are still part of the most popular species.
The MCS has released a list of the best seafood alternatives that are more sustainable. The list is as follows:
- Dab (a flat fish like plaice), seine netted in the North Sea.
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified hake from Cornwall.
- MSC certified herring from the Irish, Celtic and North Seas, Southwest Ireland and the eastern English Channel.
- MSC and Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) certified mackerel, handlined in the Southwest of England.
- Megrim from the northern North Sea and West of Scotland.
- British rope-grown mussels.
- Brown crab from Devon inshore potting area, western Channel.
- Queen scallops from the Fal Estuary, caught by traditional sail and oar method.
- Pollack handlined from the Celtic sea.
- Sole, Dover from the western Channel.