If you’re lucky enough to have a good local fishmonger you should find it easy to know if you’re buying sustainable fish. But what if you’re eating out or buying pre-packed fish at the supermarket?
When researching our recent magazine feature on fish labelling I realised how confusing it can be to make sure you’re buying sustainable fish when shopping.
And it’s even more confusing when dining out. Most restaurants give you the name of the fish but nothing about where it is from, how it was caught and whether it is from sustainable sources – unless, that is, you happen to be eating in a super-fancy place where a biography of the fish is given to you on the menu. And let’s face it – that doesn’t happen often.
Something fishy on the menu
I wonder how comfortable we would feel challenging a restaurant on where their fish had come from. Would the restaurateur be happy to answer these kinds of questions (you’d hope they would) and would they even know the answer themselves. To be honest, it’s never really occurred to me to ask but I’ll give it a try in future.
Luckily, the fish2fork.com website helps you make an informed choice about where you eat out. The website identifies which restaurants buy fish responsibly (Catch, The Captain’s Galley and Am Birlinn top its charts) and which restaurants need to improve. Bottom of the list is London’s Nobu which has endangered Bluefin tuna on its menu.
I don’t eat a lot of fish, not because of sustainability, but because I’m not a massive fan – basically I’ll eat it if it doesn’t smell or taste like fish, so I must admit I wasn’t totally tuned in to what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I know that I should be eating Pollock in place of Cod but beyond that, I was pretty clueless.
Reeling in the fish resources
I’ve found the Marine Conservation Society app a helpful resource as it lets you know which fish are good to eat, and which to avoid, based on whether they come from well managed, sustainable stocks or farms.
I’ve always looked for the sustainable label (MSC) when shopping for fish or tried to buy from supermarkets I expect to act responsibly. But now I’m a little more clued-up, I’ll also start asking about sustainability when I eat out.
Do you look out for the sustainability seal of approval when you buy fish? Have you tried to swap your usual choice for a less popular alternative? Are you as tuned-in looking for sustainable fish when eating out?