Top cod image credit: August Linnman
UK charity the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) have just updated their Good Fish Guide, which advises consumers on the health status of various fish stocks, rating more than 400 fisheries around the world. A rating of 5 (Fish to Avoid) is given to seafood that is overfished and vulnerable and whose method of harvesting causes damage to other marine life or the seabed, while a rating of 1 or 2 (Fish to Eat) relates to the most sustainably harvested seafood.
Due to its rising popularity on restaurant menus around the world, the MCS have increased the number of squid ratings. You say calamari, we say squid – no matter – we love the little suckers fried, stewed and sautéed. Japanese flying squid get the green light (a 2 rating) from the MCS mainly owing to the highly selective and low-impact fishing method known as jigging, used on a small scale. On the other hand, squid jigged in the East Central Pacific and Argentine short-fin squid have been given a 4 rating. Oftentimes these squid are caught by the purse seine method, which uses big nets that also capture protected species such as sharks, marine mammals and turtles.
Cod, mackerel and plaice have also been given ratings overhauls in the latest Good Fish Guide. It’s good news for cod caught in the Celtic Sea and the Kattegat – a strait forming part of the connection between the Baltic and North seas – improving from a 5 to a 4 and dropping off the MCS’ dangerous Red List. Mackerel from the multinational Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) fishery is also now back on the safe list. Unfortunately, that other fish and chips shop favourite, plaice, hasn’t fared so well, particularly plaice caught in the Irish Sea or by pulse trawl, being downgraded from a 4 to a 5.
Be sure to check out the latest version of the Good Fish Guide (click here) to educate yourself before your next trip to the wet market or your favourite seafood restaurant. The website also provides links to download the Good Fish Guide App, for up-to-date sustainable seafood info in the palm of your hand.