Closing in on one year ago, it was announced that Cod had moved from the ‘Red Zone’ to the ‘Orange Zone’ within the borders of the MCS (Marine Conservation Society) Sustainable fish list. Yay for humans. We did a good thing.
Then because of this revelation, consumption of Cod went up, and the poor little fellas went ploughing back down in to the red zone. Bad humans.
Like others, I myself try to avoid buying Cod from supermarkets, but it’s made more difficult to try and do good things when the leading supermarket chains don’t offer more sustainable alternatives. By which I mean, where do I find the Green labelled Abalone? And how exactly do I prepare a Flounder?
After accepting a short term job in the Norwegian Fjords (where I’m currently writing this blog), I started dreaming about the all the fresh, exciting fish I would find here. Fish I’ve never tried, never cooked, or never even heard of. So you can imagine my disappointment and dismay when I arrived at the supermarket (reusable bag in hand) only to discover the story was much the same. My knowledge of the Nordic language could use some work; Takk = Thanks, Tusen Takk = Thanks a lot, is about my limit; so I asked a friendly worker to translate for me. My options for purchase were; Cod Fillet; Cod Loin; Side of Cod; Smoked Cod; Salted Cod and Salmon. So all in all, less exciting than I’d hoped.
Staying optimistic, I went to the Fishmonger with high hopes, where I was greeted with, you guessed it, more Cod. I could however buy prawns, salmon, mussels, scallops and clams but they were all in the back, frozen. Norway; you’ve let me down.
This led to some research in to the Fishing Industry after which I discovered that in 2015 Norway was listed the World’s 2nd Largest Seafood Exporter. As the UK imports 70% of the seafood we consume, this begs the question; where is all the fish?
According to British Sea Fishing, the 5 most commonly eaten fish in the UK are; Cod, Haddock, Tuna, Salmon and Prawns. No surprises there. So it should also come as no shock that all of these 5 fish are graded in the Red Zone of sustainability. Along with our familiar pals, Seabass, Seabream, Plaice, Herring and a whole bunch of others. All of these fish and many more have been labelled as ‘to be avoided’ due to their overfishing and stocks not being replenished.
How do we fix this? I inevitably hear you ask.
When purchasing fish from the supermarket check the labels for the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) logo which looks like this.
Also check the MCS Sustainable Fish list and Good Fish Guide before you buy and see what’s hot (and what’s not), which can be found here http://www.goodfishguide.org/
Little changes like these, and a bit more awareness on our part will hopefully bring down the whopping 80% of the world’s fish being over exploited.
Because frankly, it would be a darn shame to lose the phrase ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’.