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UK in Search of Sustainable Seafood

by the Fish Site Editor
09 January 2009, at 12:00am

UK - People in the UK are increasingly switchingto less well-known species of seafood,suggesting that consumers may be makingpositive choices informed by their concernfor the environment and locally sourcedseafood, according to Seafish.

The UK seafood market, now worth 2.72 billion, is up 5 per cent year on year in value terms. This growth can be attributed to consumers choosing niche species such as pollock and seabass over more traditional varieties.

Pollock, which has seen its sales increase by 151 per cent in the past year, received rave reviews last year from both Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on their TV programmes. Seabass, a favourite of Mitch Tonks from Saturday Kitchen, has also seen sales rise by 12 per cent in the last year.


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"As well as being sustainable and affordable, gurnards firm, white flesh lends itself to an array of dishes."
Michelin-starred chef, Tom Aikens

Phil MacMullen, Head of Environmental Responsibility at Seafish, said: The recent championing of sustainable seafood by celebrity chefs and by retailers has encouraged consumers to experiment with the lesser-known varieties in their area. This shows that consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of responsible sourcing. Choosing alternative species helps to ease the pressure on stocks of more traditional fish.

From pilchards and sprats, popular in the south west, to langoustine in Scotland, and mussels and spider crab in Wales, all kinds of species are striking a chord with consumers, who appear to be looking for seafood thats both local and sustainable.

Retail sales of gurnard have risen from just 9,000 per year in 2007 to 273,000 in 2008 an increase of nearly 3000 per cent.

Michelin-starred chef, Tom Aikens, says: Gurnard is absolutely delicious and, most importantly, in plentiful supply. We have noticed a significant demand for gurnard at Toms Kitchen, as customers become increasingly savvy about the wide variety of fish available from UK waters.

As well as being sustainable and affordable, gurnards firm, white flesh lends itself to an array of dishes. Add to fish stews or simply grill or barbeque a good thick fillet for a great supper.

Squid, which is now appearing in UK waters, is also proving popular, with sales up 32 per cent compared with 2007.

the Fish Site Editor