Unsustainable fishing methods are obliterating fish populations all over the world. Despite the best efforts of both supermarkets and consumers, some vital changes need to be made in order to ensure that there will always be enough of the fish we love to consume in the oceans. You, as the consumer, hold a lot of power in this regard. Here are some quick and easy tips on how to select sustainable seafood.
There are numerous ways to catch fish, and unfortunately not all of them involve someone sitting on a tiny fishing boat in the Mediterranean, leisurely waiting for one to swim along. Some methods are rather damaging and should be avoided at all costs. Here is a guide to check how your fish has been caught:
Trawling – Trawling is one of the most harmful fishing methods on the planet. It involves dragging large nets through the sea, with no way of selecting what type of fish is caught. Those who have seen “Finding Nemo” will understand. Despite being an effective way of capture large numbers of fish, protected species such as dolphins, wales and turtles are often caught in the by-catch.
Pole Fishing - Pole fishing is a traditional method for catching fish, using a fishing rod and bait on the fishing line. This is a rather harmless and environmentally friendly method, as unintentionally caught fish can be released immediately.
Handline Fishing – Like pole fishing, handline fishing is one of the oldest fishing methods in the world. Quite self-explanatory, it involves holding a fishing line with multiple baits attached to it. This method also has no harmful by-catch.
Diver Caught – This method is less harmful for the seabed as there are no heavy nets destroying marine habitats. However it is vital that divers are trained correctly, so as not to create an imbalance in the area’s marine life.
The Marine Conservation Society has done all the hard work for you in finding out which fish should be avoided, and which ones they can substituted with. You can print their list out or look it up on your phone whilst you’re in the store. Further tips can also be found on the Marine Conservation Society’s website. Another good way of checking produce is to ask your restaurant or fishmonger where their fish is from; if they can’t give you the name of the fishery, this should raise a red flag.
Swapping some fish for similar members of their species is a failsafe and simple way to do your part in the fight against overfishing.
Bluefin Tuna – Popular in the sushi and restaurant industry all over the world, Bluefin tuna are being caught en masse. Instead of purchasing this endangered fish, opt for bigeye or yellowfin tuna, which have the same taste and flavor without the price tag or environmental damage that comes with bluefin tuna.
Farmed Salmon –Farmed salmon is fed on other small fish which are not caught sustainably, with no way of monitoring the transferal of bacteria which could end up in the human body. However you don’t have to give up salmon just yet. When purchasing your salmon, check that it has been caught in the wild or has been farmed organically in order to be sure that you are getting the best quality fish possible.
Cod – Due to how great it tastes battered and with chips, it’s no surprise that cod is being overfished in order to keep up with demand. Instead of further depleting cod stocks, try similarly delicious fish like pollock, coley and hake.
Tiger/King Prawns – Despite these prawns appearing in many high-end restaurants, the prawn industry is, surprisingly, poorly regulated. Go for organic prawns if you have the choice, or try cold water prawns from Canada, scampi, or Scottish langoustines which are also delicious and farmed responsibly.
Although these 3 tips may not seem like they will change the world, they will definitely help in protecting numerous endangered species. Following these steps will assure that you, and future generations, will still be able to enjoy the delicious fish that you know and love for years to come. Imagine a world with no sushi, grilled salmon, or marinated sea bass. That’s not something that anybody should have to be a part of.
Published on August 23, 2016