The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has released a new Sustainable Seafood Guide. While the guide shouldn’t be taken as a comprehensive review of every fishery or farm in Australia or overseas, it which will surely help home cooks make better choices when purchasing fish. Tooni Mahto, Marine Campaigner at the AMCS says, “Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide was produced in order that people who love eating seafood but want to tread lightly on the oceans can make responsible choices. AMCS want to ensure that Australians have access to independent information on how that seafood is caught or farmed.”
“…around 75% of the seafood we consume is imported from a number of different countries that different ways of managing their fish stocks, some good some not so good.”
How bad is the seafood situation?
Though some of the fisheries around Australia source their product responsibly, Mahto believes that Australians should pay more attention to the types of seafood they are eating and where it is sourced from. “Around Australia, we have some really great fisheries that catch fish with very little impact on vulnerable marine wildlife and sensitive marine habitat, whereas others have significant issues with catching animals like dolphins and turtles.” Mahto notes that, “…around 75% of the seafood we consume is imported from a number of different countries that different ways of managing their fish stocks, some good some not so good.”
“…it’s always good to ask the retailer if you can’t find the information you’re looking for.”
How can we make sustainable seafood choices?
If you want to make more sustainable choices, the power is in your hand. Mahto suggests it’s always good to ask the retailer if you can’t find the information you’re looking for. “Retailers have a responsibility to know about their produce. It’s a great way to let them know that you care about how your seafood is caught or farmed, and the way in which you spend your dollars tells retailers directly about the issues that are important to you as a customer.”
“If you normally chose a particular type of seafood, such as bigeye tuna (currently on the AMCS red list), then maybe think about what alternatives you can use in your recipes. Creatively, this can be a great way of seeking out new fish that maybe you hadn’t considered using before or weren’t even aware existed! Diversifying our choices is another way in which we can take the pressure off some of the really popular fish that have been the victim of their own success – take snapper for example, a wonderful table fish, but it has been under such intense pressure for such a long time that many stocks are now overfished.”
I definitely agree with these pointers. As sustainable and responsible cooks, we should make sure they we take the initiative to make better choices about how we source our food. It’s always great to experiment. I always think of it as a Foodie Challenge where the ultimate prize is the chance to discover a new taste sensation. If I do find something, I’ll definitely keep you posted 🙂
The 2014 Australia’s Sutainable Seafood Guide is available as a hardcopy book ($9.95AUD), as an iPhone and Android app and online. Visit the website here for more information. What do you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Simply click on the speech bubble in the bottom right-hand corner.
Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,