The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has updated its online Good Fish Guide with line-caught pollack from the Celtic Sea, lemon sole, seine netted from the North Sea and eastern English Channel, and queen scallop, traditionally caught in the Fal Estuary in Cornwall, among those appearing on the green-rated Best Choice List.
Certain types of megrim and turbot also appear on the Good Fish Guide green-rated Best Choice List, which means they are among the most sustainable options, while MSC certified brown crab from both Shetland and Orkney; MSC certified sardine ring-netted in Cornwall and harpooned swordfish all move off the Best Choice list.
Fish moving onto the red list, and which MCS says should be avoided, include certain species of red mullet and seabass.
Improving and off the red list are undulate ray from the English Channel; albacore from the Mediterranean and bigeye from western central Pacific Ocean. Non-movers on the red list are wild seabass; skate; shark; spurdog and wild Atlantic salmon.
The MCS is hoping to use the latest ratings to encourage consumers to diversify their choice in fish and choose less popular and underutilised species.
Bernadette Clarke, MCS Good Fish Guide programme manager, comments: ”We are currently exporting around 75% of fish caught and landed in the UK, but we're the ninth largest importer of fish in the world with around 70% of the seafood value entering the UK fish supply chain coming from overseas. By choosing more sustainable sources and keeping it local it will help reduce wasting wild caught fish that are discarded dead because they have less value.”
As the UK prepares to leave the EU and fisheries talks get underway to try to secure a bigger share of the fish post Brexit, MCS has suggested a UK Top 10 which it would like to see consumers trying.
The MCS Best Choice Top 10
1 Dab, seine netted in the North Sea
2 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified hake from Cornwall
3 MSC certified herring from Irish, Celtic and North Seas, SW Ireland and Eastern English Channel
4 Mackerel, handlined in the southwest of England, and MINSA (Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance) North East Atlantic MSC certified
5 Megrim from the Northern North Sea and West of Scotland
6 UK rope-grown mussels
7 Brown crab from Devon Inshore Potting Area, Western Channel
8 Queen scallops from the Fal Estuary, fished by trad. sail and oar method
9 Pollack handlined from the Celtic sea
10 Sole, Dover from the Western Channel
The MCS Good Fish Guide Fish is available at: www.goodfishguide.co.uk, as an app on iPhone or android, and paper credit card sized version – the Pocket Good Fish Guide.