Putting eco-friendly fish on the menu
Posted: 05 Sep 2006

An on-line guide to buying eco-friendly fish has been launched by the Marine Conservation Society (MSC}. The one-stop shop for consumers concerned about the sustainabiity of the fish they eat is available at www.fishonline.org.
The website provides information for 150 species of seafood, with revised lists of ‘Fish to Eat’ with a clearer conscience, and ‘Fish to Avoid’ from unsustainable and damaging fisheries. A handy Pocket Good Fish Guide has also been produced, and is available free from MCS.

Fishermen from the South West are leading the way with several species caught in the area now listed as ‘Fish to Eat’, including: pilchards or sardines from Cornish waters, fished using a traditional method known as ‘ring-netting’; pot-caught crab from waters off Start Point, Devon; and line-caught and tagged pollack and seabass from Cornwall.

Species new to the 'Fish to Avoid' list include: the European eel, as stocks are at an all-time low and closure of the fishery is recommended; anchovy from the Bay of Biscay; langoustine from North and North West Spain and the Portuguese Coast; and herring and Greenland halibut from overfished stocks.

“Consumers concerned about the impact of their seafood choices on the marine environment now have an even greater choice of eco-friendly fish,” says Bernadette Clarke, MCS Fisheries Officer. “MCS anticipates that our Fish to Eat List will continue to grow as public awareness of the importance of sustainability increases and fishermen respond to demand by developing more selective and sustainable fisheries”.

New farmed species on the ‘Fish to Eat’ list include abalone, organically farmed cod, and tilapia. Dawn Purchase, MCS Mariculture Officer says “As with the capture industry, the aquaculture industry is continuing to make progress towards improving its overall environmental performance. MCS aims to highlight those producers within the industry that are leading the way by farming to higher environmental standards”.

Note: The new MCS Pocket Good Fish Guide, featuring the 2006 lists of fish to eat and fish to avoid, can be obtained FREE - send a SAE to MCS, call 01989 566017, e-mail info@mcsuk.org or download a copy from the www.fishonline.org website.