The new guide helps consumers so that they can make better choices when buying fish. (Photo: Marine Conservation Society)
Conservation group releases updated seafood guide
Thursday, May 05, 2011, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has released its most thorough sustainable seafood guide yet. Making the right choices today and alternating the species of fish consumed will help consumers give depleted fish stocks a break and allow them to replenish.
The Good Fish Guide will educate consumers, the industry, chefs and retailers on how to make the best choice purchasing seafood; it gives simple recommendations and recipe ideas to help make buying choices more varied. This site links with the more detailed Fish Online website, already widely used by the public, chefs and industry as a one-stop reference point for sourcing information.
Moreover, the organisation has updated its Pocket Good Fish Guide, which now comes with a credit card-sized guide to purchasing fish, with top buying tips and questions to ask at the fish counter when labelling is insufficiently informative.
|Good Fish Guide. (Image: Marine Conservation Society)
MCS Aquaculture and Fisheries Programme Manager Dr Peter Duncan believes the group’s sources of information are critical to saving fish stocks from depletion.
He says that in the UK, 90 per cent of fish sales are from just five species: tuna, cod, salmon, prawns and haddock. This is problematic for these target species as well as for the bycatch that is subsequently discarded.
“We need to change the situation so that maybe 50-70 per cent of sales would come from the top five and alternatives could start appearing – pollack, gurnard, coley, dab, sprats. Such fish have recently been unfashionable or discarded, but they are, in reality, tasty, often cheaper and more sustainable,” he asserted.
MCS says the upgraded guides are easier to use and provide lots of options for trying new types of seafood, revealing the best choices for many traditional species such as farmed prawns, salmon, cold water prawns and Scottish North Sea Haddock, which have been farmed organically or harvested sustainably.
|Sustainable seafood (Photos: goodfishguide)
But consumers may be unable to make the right decisions as a result of poor and puzzling labelling at the supermarket and fish shop, says MCS.
“The use of a traffic light system to indicate the nutritional value of supermarket produce is now well established. However, sadly, the labelling of fish and fish products sold in supermarkets has not kept up. It is still virtually impossible to tell precisely where most fish and fish products have been caught,” added Duncan.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has countered that retailers do "give consumers as much information as possible," reports BBC.
"What is meant by 'sustainable' fish changes all the time, depending on stocks, the environment, and which pressure group you listen to. A raft of different interpretations among environmentalists lies behind much of the confusion, not the labelling provided by supermarkets," he accused.
- Seafood labelling by major retailers misleading: report
By Natalia Real