Seafood markets, fishmongers, supermarkets and restaurants give us stacks of seafood choices for our plates, but how do we make the right choices that will protect our oceans and keep our fisheries sustainable?
There’s a lot to consider. How is the species caught? Where is it from? Is that species already being overfished? How do I find out? How should I cook it?
Follow our easy steps to make sustainable food choices with your seafood.
1. Choose a green listed species!
Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide is a free and handy tool that gives you a simple way to know the best seafood to buy that’s kinder to the oceans and covers more than 90 per cent of the seafood eaten in Australia. The guide has three colour-coded classifications, where you can choose from our green-listed “Better Choice” species and “Say No” to red-listed species or “Eat Less” from an amber list.The guide is based on in-depth scientific assessments by the Australian Marine Conservation Society. By choosing green-listed seafood from the Guide, you can be confident that you are eating a fish that is abundantly found and carefully fished – making it a sustainable choice!
2. Try something new and cook a fish you may not recognise!
Many of us have lost confidence in trying new foods and cooking different types of fish, but it is actually one of the easiest things you can do. Almost all fish when cooked over a medium heat for a short amount of time with just simply salt and lemon juice will end up being delicious. For instance Sardines are great quickly grilled on the bbq and lightly battered King George whiting is spectacular when shallow fried in a little oil.
3. Learn to ask the right questions
Your chef or fishmonger is the expert so ask them the right questions! Just by asking you are showing that this information is important to you and others like you.
How was it caught or farmed? The way it is caught is not necessarily the only thing that matters, but it is important to know. For instance, trawl fishing is less targeted and more impacting on the seafloor than line or trap fishing, and while barramundi caught in gillnets can impact vulnerable species if not well managed, barramundi farmed in Australia is a highly sustainable fish.
Is this species overfished? Well managed Australian fisheries generally report catch amounts so if your fishmonger seem unsure or do not know, be cautious and choose something else. Check with Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide and if the rating is different, have a chat to them about it to share the knowledge.
Where is it from? Location matters because different fisheries around Australia operate differently. For instance, prawns from QLD are red-listed while prawns from Spencer Gulf in South Australia are a green-list species. Likewise, Pink Snapper caught in Victoria is highly sustainable, however, Pink Snapper stocks in QLD and NSW are overfished – and red-listed as a result – and need to be given a rest to recover. Remember, it is all about making choices from fisheries that operate a little better than others.
Is it a deep sea, slow-growing or long lived species? These species, like Orange Roughy, take a long time to regenerate after they have been fished, therefore the impact of heavy fishing today may take many years or more to properly recover. We need to be extra careful with these species and for now should be avoiding these all together.
Remember, Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide can answer all these questions too.
4. Swap bad for better.
Any red-listed fish can be substituted for something sustainable.
If you like QLD Tiger Prawns then try farmed Australian prawns, or wild King Prawns from Spencer Gulf, South Australia.
If you like Tasmanian Salmon then try King Salmon from New Zealand, often called the wagyu of the sea, it has an amazing texture and flavour.
If you like Bluefin or Bigeye Tuna then try Spanish Mackerel as a unique alternative, or in small amounts, Yellowfin or Albacore Tuna.
If you like Moreton Bay Bugs then try Blue Swimmer Crab or the totally delicious eaten Mud Crab, which are caught in low-impact traps or pots.
If you like Scallops, most are caught using trawlers or dredges. Try hand-dived Scallops, just as easy to cook, much higher quality, and caught with almost no disturbance to the sea floor or other species.
Try some mussels or oysters – well loved for a great reason, delicious and appropriate for all occasions and weather, with impeccable sustainability credentials!
5. Educate Yourself
By asking questions, using Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide, and engaging with recipes of unfamiliar but sustainable fish, you are educating yourself and others about our amazing oceans.
Our oceans are a beautiful and incredible resource that have an amazing that can produce abundance if harvested carefully. If make sustainable seafood choices, we can ensure that we have healthy oceans to hand over to our children, and their children after to enjoy.
6. Buy less to decrease your food waste!
We love hosting parties over holiday periods like Easter and Christmas to bring together family and friends but nothing is worse than perfectly good food ending up in the bin. This is such a shame. Remember, fish comes from a very sensitive marine environment so to ensure that we have healthy oceans forever, remember to think twice about how much you need!
|By Sascha Rust, Good Fish Manager|