5 tips for sustainable seafood this Christmas
The Christmas tree doesn’t have to be the only thing that’s green in your household this Christmas. As well as ditching the plastic straw with your Christmas cocktail, or using recycled paper to wrap presents, choosing sustainably sourced green rated seafood can make for a truly ocean conscious Christmas.
Here are some tips for making the most sustainable choices for festive fish favourites this Christmas:
#1 Prawns Prawn cocktails are a classic British Christmas starter. Generally, you’ll find the ones being used in prawn cocktails are the small cold-water Northern prawns. They are a more sustainable choice than the bigger warm-water king and tiger prawns and around the size of a 20p piece. The best choice is Marine Stewardship Council (look for the blue tick logo) Northern prawns which are green rated on the Good Fish Guide. If you choose to buy king or tiger prawns which are farmed in warm waters, the best choice is organic certified prawns. Avoid uncertified king or tiger prawns which are mainly red rated on the Good Fish Guide.
#2 Salmon Salmon is a festive favourite. However, farmed salmon can pose very serious environmental concerns. Why not try a new Christmas tradition this year and swap salmon for rainbow trout? Rainbow trout is a close relative to salmon and a sustainable healthy alternative with a third of the fat of salmon at just 135kcals per 100g! The best choice is rainbow trout farmed in freshwater ponds. If you choose to eat salmon, organically farmed Atlantic salmon or certified wild Pacific salmon are the best choices.
#3 Lobster Many will be tucking into a lobster this festive season. Lobster is Canada’s top seafood export, often a lot of packaging calls it “Canadian lobster” but the species is actually American lobster caught in Canada. However, its fishery is far from perfect with bycatch of several at-risk species being a main issue, particularly for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale which get entangled in lobster gear.
If you’re going to choose lobster this Christmas, European lobster is a better choice. European lobster is blue to dark blue and the underside of their claws are generally a cream colour, whereas American lobsters are usually olive green or greenish brown and the underside of their claws are orange-red. The best choice is Marine Stewardship Council certified pot or creel caught lobster from Jersey Granville Bay Treaty Area and is green rated on the Good Fish Guide.
#4 Crab Another popular shellfish choice at Christmas is brown crab. Brown crabs are found throughout the coast of the UK and the vast majority are caught by potting. Potting is a low impact method of fishing and catch hardly any unwanted species. The best choice is pot or creel caught brown crab from the Western Channel and is green rated on the Good Fish Guide.
#5 Choosing other seafood this Christmas? Use the Good Fish Guide! Use the Good Fish Guide, which is the definitive guide to sustainable seafood, to help you make better seafood choices. It’s available online, as a free app as well as a pocket PDF guide. The Good Fish Guide has a handy traffic light system which tells you which sustainable green rated fish to choose and which unsustainable red rated fish to avoid.
With 90% of world fish stocks fully or over-exploited, and harmful fishing and farming practices affecting marine wildlife, you do need to know where your fish comes from and how it is caught. The key to making the right choice is using the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide to pick sustainable green rated seafood.
By choosing seafood from the most sustainable sources, you encourage supermarkets and restaurants to demand it from their suppliers and support the market for seafood caught or farmed in the most environmentally responsible way. You will also reduce demand for the most unsustainable seafood, like those that are red rated on the Good Fish Guide.
Actions you can take
Did you know?…
21.7 million tonnes of wild caught fish are not for people to eat; almost 75% of this is to feed farmed fish
Over 3,000 sq km of our seabed is now protected from bottom-towed gear
MCS launched the Good Fish Guide in 2001 to help people make good seafood choices
What's your impact on our seas?
You can play a key role in securing the future of our seas and marine wildlife by making more environmentally responsible choices when buying seafood.
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