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Fish to Eat, Fish to Avoid: Seafish in Praise

UK - Philip MacMullen, Seafish Head of Environmental Responsibility, said that he broadly welcomes the MCS Fish to Eat and Fish to Avoid List,

According to Mr MacMullen, consumers need clear guidance to help them make responsible choices when buying seafood.

Good, clear labelling will become a very important part of this process in the future but traceability is still far from perfect as far as consumers are concerned. In the meantime, it is genuinely difficult to be sure of all the details of any given fish supply line. "To this extent advice given via lists such as this one must match the reality of the available information. We should not be raising unrealistic expectations."

Mr MacMullen says: “The complexities of fisheries also mean that it is difficult to rely on a simple eat/avoid list. Fish stocks are dynamic and can change their status quite quickly. What’s more, there can be great variation between fisheries for the same species depending on the fishing ground and catching method used.

“We are pleased to see that this edition of the MCS list has broken down some species to reflect the dynamics of fish stocks, and that more stocks have been removed from the “avoid” list than added to it. This new list now provides quite a detailed and complex analysis but still contains a number of errors. In combination this could lead to some confusion for consumers. We believe that seafood lovers should start by feeling reassured that fish and shellfish for sale in the UK is subject to strict national and international requirements. It has to be landed legally and within quota systems that exist to protect seafood stocks.

“Those looking for seafood subject to extra sustainability criteria can already purchase from retailers with their own published seafood sourcing policies or who use Responsible Fishing Scheme vessels, or choose Marine Stewardship Council-certified fisheries (those with the blue tick on the packet).

“The British fishing industry leads the world in the development of responsible fishing methods, and it is as much in the industry’s interests as it is environmental common sense to see sustainable and well-managed fisheries all over the world. That’s why Seafish is working with the Marine Conservation Society and other organisations to ensure that there is a sustainable future for seafood in our seas. Improving the quality of the advice available to consumers is in everyone’s interest.”

Further Reading

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Ellen Hardy

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