Monday, 23 June 2008

Plenty More Fish in the Sea?

Photo: f10n4

We’re partial to a portion of fish n’ chips in our house but about a month ago, Richard went off to get what was once our weekly treat only to come home with haddock instead of cod. Cod, he’d been told, had become increasingly difficult to get hold of leading to prices sky rocketing so our local chippie was no longer using it.

What? No more cod and chips? What’s going on?

I had to look into this and what I discovered wasn’t nice.

Our seas have been so badly over-fished that many of the food species that we once took for granted are now struggling to sustain their populations to the point where they’re becoming increasingly scarce.

Apparently, in order for us to continue following the Government’s guidelines regarding eating more fish for health reasons, it’s important we buy only fish that’s caught in a less wasteful manner than has, until now, been the case.

Fishing with nets leads to the loss of way too many young, unusable fish that are already dead by the time they’re thrown back in. It also causes the death of other marine creatures that aren’t used for food but that are important in upholding the balance beneath the waves. In fact, net fishing is considered the biggest and most indiscriminate killer on the planet! Long-line fishing isn’t innocent either.

So what can we do?

It’s suggested that in order to put a stop to this wasteful method of fishing and allow growth in our natural fish supplies we shop only from reputable fish mongers and always ask the questions: “where does this fish come from?” and “how was it caught?”. Better still, learn to fish and catch your own ;-)

Preferably we should choose locally caught fish and rather than sticking with one variety, we should vary our choices to include less popular fish such as Saithe and Pollack while steering well clear of vulnerable species . Take a look at this list from Greenpeace to find out what you should and shouldn’t be buying and why.

photo: yomi955

No more tropical (tiger) prawns for me. With 10kgs of by-catch being killed for every 1kg of prawns caught, the cost is just far too high. Not to mention the human rights issues surrounding these prawns. According to the Greenpeace list, violence and intimidation is part of the picture. Even farmed prawns are far from innocent. Nope... just give me some plain old fresh local prawns, please. Fresh because the frozen ones are often shipped to Asia first for peeling and freezing and then shipped back again. That's some carbon footprint just for a few prawns!

It’s all really quite shocking, don't ya fink?

Sharon J xx


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Anonymous said...

We can still get cod here in North London but the price has gone stupid. I thought that was just because of the general price rises but probably not. I don't think our local chippy does alternatives other than plaice which I don't like so cod it'll have to be :-/

webuyitgreen said...

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Catz said...

Hello Sharon!

We too love our fish n chips, here they are still offering cod or haddock only so it is now a rare treat for us. Just recently we have been buying pollack to add to smoked haddock when I make fish pie and nobody has noticed the difference. Pollack is much cheaper too.

Sharon J said...

Hi Anon. I've no doubt there are still chip shops up here offering cod and to be honest, I'm in a bit of a quandry about what to do, should I find one (am currently trying different ones as our regular chippy's quality has dropped recently). I do like my cod and am happy to pay more for it IF that really means it's been fished responsibly from Icelandic water but, apart from asking and accepting the answer, how could I know? We only have cod about once a month though so I guess that isn't too bad. Much preferred it when we caught our own ;)


Thanks for the invite, Webuyitgreen. I'll have a look around your site later.


Catz. Once upon a time we used to do a lot of sea fishing so pollack was often on the menu. My ex preferred it to cod and Norwegians in general would much rather have pollack.

Never been a lover of fish pie myself but there's no harm in experimenting. As you say, most of the time nobody notices the difference.

Pat said...

Now you've got me wanting fish and chips. It's that photo you've used. I'm drooling.

Sharon J said...

It is a good photo, isn't it? Makes me want fish 'n chips every time I see it too.

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