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Fish flying off the menu

Fish is good for us, but we aren’t returning the favour. According to a new consumer guide to sustainable seafood in the UK, there is plenty we should not be eating if we don’t want to see them vanish forever.

Among the 69 species you should give the flick are some favourite fishy friends. If you want to be an ethical eater, it’s goodbye to the Atlantic cod, unless it’s from the North East Arctic, Iceland, Bristol Channel or Southeast Ireland; and haddock from the Faroes and west of Scotland fisheries; as well as anchovy from the Bay of Biscay and several varieties of shark.

The sustainable list isn’t quite as long, but does include organically farmed Atlantic cod, Western Australian rock lobster (in fact a few Western Australian varieties get the thumbs up), king mackerel and black bream.

The Marine Conservation Society says it has released the guide in response to inadequate labelling by those in the business of selling it to us – everyone from fishmongers to supermarkets and restaurants.

Sam Wilding, the society’s fisheries officer, told The Times newspaper: “Labelling of seafood sold in the UK is lacking detail, and as such is not fit for purpose. This is leading to confusion among consumers who really want to make the best sustainable seafood choice. It is vital that consumers are given better information to act upon if we are to reduce the tragedy of overfishing.”

But not everyone agrees with their choices. The Times reports that Seafish, the official seafood industry authority, is puzzled by the society’s listings for monkfish and anglerfish, as well as mussels and brown crabs. Check out the list at www.fishonline.org.

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