Why Cod is Back on the Menu in U.K. and Wild Salmon is Best Avoided

Tomé Morrissy-Swan wrote . . . . . .

Cod has been classified as sustainable by leading global fishing standards body the Marine Stewardship Council in news that will delight fish and chips lovers across the country.

It marks the first time in the organisation’s 20-year history that North Sea cod has been approved, and shoppers will now see the council’s blue label on packets of the fish.

Stocks in the North Sea were as low as 36,000 tonnes in 2006, after which there was a concerted drive by chefs and the MSC to steer shoppers away from cod. Though there are now 167,711 tonnes, the number remains far lower than the 270,000 tonnes recorded in the 1970s.

The MSC states that approved fish is “caught at levels that allow fish populations and the ecosystems on which they depend to remain healthy and productive for the future.”

The reclassification comes after a number of measures were introduced to encourage the growth of the North Sea’s cod stocks. Nets with bigger holes were introduced to allow younger fish to escape, and spawning areas were closed to fishing. Other steps included allocating fishing periods to boats and powers to close fishing areas at short notice.

The MSC’s Tony Middleton said: “Thanks to a collaborative, cross-industry effort, one of our most iconic fish has been brought back from the brink.”

The news comes just months after another fish and chips favourite, haddock, was classed as unsustainable.

With two of Britain’s other ‘big five’ fish, salmon and tuna (the other three are prawns, cod and haddock), also going through a tough time, it can be hard to keep track of which fish to eat and which to avoid.

Wild Atlantic salmon have been struck by outbreaks of disease and parasites off Scotland’s west coast this year. Sea lice, which feed on the blood of fish, can kill their host if present in large numbers, and prices have increased as a result.

Thankfully, the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide provides detailed information on what’s safe to eat and what isn’t. Five popular fish to avoid are:

  • Wild Atlantic Salmon
  • Wild Atlantic Halibut
  • Sea bass (North sea, Irish sea, English and Bristol Channels, Celtic Sea)
  • Tuna (bluefin and yellowfin, ring or gill net)
  • Whitebait

Source: The Telegraph

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