In the UK, our favourite fish species are salmon, cod, tuna, pollock and haddock. Together these make up 60% of fish consumed in the UK in 2017.
Although seafood from well-managed fisheries and farms is available in many supermarkets and fishmongers, even the best managed sources cannot satisfy the increase in demand. Growing demand for seafood puts pressure on the whole marine ecosystem, resulting in impacts such as overfishing, bycatch and marine pollution.
You can help reduce this pressure by choosing to eat a diverse range of seafood from well-managed sources. Try to supplement your diet with other seafood options. For example:
Why not swap haddock when you have fish and chips, for pollock or hake?
You can try low-emissions options such as sardines and anchovies (great on a pizza!)
How about trying Moroccan sardines caught by purse seine? This fishing method requires less fuel and so has a smaller carbon footprint!
Explore the world of shellfish including mussels and clams.
If you want to support smart seafood but don’t eat fish, or if you’re looking to reduce your consumption of animal products, you could try out different seaweed options. Seaweed is a great crop for our planet as it sequesters carbon, can be grown around the world, and has a low impact when farmed compared to fish species. It also tastes delicious! Moderate consumption of edible seaweed species can be a rich source of nutrients like iodine. Why not try seaweed flakes on your stir-fry, or make sushi and wrap it in a nori wrap? You can even add dulse (a type of seaweed) to pasta!
Why you're doing this
Overfishing and climate change affect the whole marine ecosystem. These pressures prevent targeted fish stocks from recovering, and affect the 800 million people globally who depend on them for food and income.
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certify farms and fisheries that have higher environmental standards and are traceable. Look for their logos when you are buying seafood to ensure it has come from a sustainable source. However, even the best-managed sources cannot satisfy an unlimited increase in demand.
How you'll make a difference
By diversifying your seafood choices you can protect people, nature and the climate. Choosing alternative species from well-managed sources, such as Scottish farmed mussels, can reduce pressure on more popular species.