Charity urges shoppers to make 2011 a year of new tastes when it comes to seafood

Marine Conservation Society News Release

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says a week of programmes on Channel 4, dedicated to catching, eating and cooking fish, will help take home to the kitchen MCS’s message that everyone should choose only sustainable seafood and try serving up less well-known species instead of the more traditional fish suppers.
 
MCS has published advice to consumers on fish sustainability for over ten years, and the public and retailers have taken heed of the charity’s advice with a much wider range of sustainable seafood now available at fish counters and restaurants.

“Many fish stocks in Europe and around the world remain in a depleted state, and in order to enable recovery we need to apply scientific advice, take the pressure of overfished stocks, but still enable fishermen to catch fish and the public to continue eating them”, says Peter Duncan, MCS Aquaculture and Fisheries Programme Manager. “Through our Fishonline website and Good Fish Guide, the Marine Conservation Society has been promoting the well-managed, healthy stocks as well as some of the less-traditional, but more sustainable, fish species. In this way, our work with retailers and industry has helped to provide real sustainable seafood options for shoppers.”

“MCS aims to change how the nation thinks about seafood. Our message is that, as long as you buy sustainable products, and vary the kinds of fish you eat, it’s OK to eat seafood. In this way we‘ll begin to see stock recovery, provide security for the fishing industry and coastal communities, and be able to keep eating a diversity of fish for generations to come.”

Marine Conservation SocietyMCS has given its sustainable seafood advice to a number of the celebrity chefs featured in the Channel 4 week long series which starts on January 11th, 2011.
 
Jamie Oliver will be cooking with fish given the higher sustainability ratings by MCS – meaning that they either come from well managed, healthy stocks, they are not overfished, or they come from good-practice aquaculture. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also takes one of MCS’ key messages to the kitchen – fish that are often thrown away, like sprat and flounder, actually taste really good! And Heston Blumenthal has taken MCS’s stark warning that overfishing will leave us with little but jellyfish to eat, by cooking up a jellyfish feast!

The Channel 4 series will undoubtedly serve up more questions than it answers for the average shopper. MCS has therefore published a handy ‘Sustainable Seafood At-A-Glance’ guide on its website, to help people make the right choice and be a bit more experimental about the fish they put on their plates.

“People tend to continue with what they feel comfortable eating and cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns are still the top five fish eaten in the UK”, Peter Duncan continues. “But, have a look in your local fishmonger or supermarket, there are lots of alternatives, which are simple to cook. Why not try something different, like flounder, gurnard, mussels or red mullet, or look for the best-choice organic farmed salmon and prawns? They are all far more sustainable and taste great. Our handy guide will show you what to look out for and tell you what not to put on your plate.”

For more information, visit the MCS website at www.mcsuk.org.