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Fish stocks: There's plenty more

UK - Traditionally popular fish in the UK, such as cod and haddock, are inshort supply, but what's wrong with megrim, coley and gurnard? Antony Adshead checks out the underutilised species and fish-farm alternatives.

Think of endangered species and the likes of tigers and pandas usually come to mind. But in reality, many of the most familiar fish in our culture are practically endangered as a source of food.

Cod, for example, is integral to the British idea of the fish supper, but many once-prolific cod fisheries are shadows of their former selves. According to the Marine Conservation Society, 70% of the world's fish stocks are heavily fished, and many of our best-known fish, including cod, haddock, halibut and skate, are threatened species.

Of course there are alternatives. If you must have cod or haddock, these are available from sustainable stocks in areas such as the Faroes or Iceland, and good fish suppliers - most of which now sell only sustainable fish - will tell you their origin. There is also farmed fish, which is inherently sustainable, offering a massive range of species from cod and sea bass through to exotics such as barramundi.

Then there are the so-called underutilised species. These are species which are plentiful because we in the UK have never gained a taste for them, though they are sought-after in other parts of Europe. An example of this is megrim - a sole-like fish, of which the bulk of the catch goes to France and Spain.

Source: Caterersearch