The Good Fish
Matt Golinski tackles the topic of sustainable seafood.
If you’re confused about what constitutes ‘sustainable seafood’ as you’re staring into the iced-up selection of fish, shellfish, molluscs and bivalves at your local fish shop, you’re not alone.
Information tends to get thrown about like burley and depending on whether you believe the industry itself, the government agencies or the scientists, you may or may not be saving the world one prawn at a time.
Farmed fish like Atlantic Salmon, Ocean Trout, Kingfish and Barramundi are good because we’re not depleting wild stocks of fish. But if it requires the oceans to be pillaged of wild stocks of the food that the wild fish eat, then it’s kind of counterproductive.
Some wild fish stocks might be plentiful, but are the methods used to catch them harming other more vulnerable species?
Australia and New Zealand have some of the strictest seafood management laws in the world, so if you want to make a difference, making sure that what you’re buying is fished by Australian and New Zealand fishers in our waters is a good start.
Apps like Good Fish are a great tool to have on your phone for when you hit the shops; you can look up species on the spot and find out what status they have and why.
Adopting a ‘nose to tailfin’ approach to using seafood is another way to make sure you’re not wasting any part of your purchase. Buying and filleting whole fish and making a nutritious, gelatinous stock with the frames, or peeling whole prawns and turning the heads and shells into a luscious bisque are some other ways to minimise waste.
By far the best way to choose responsibly though is to buy the highest quality seafood from as close to the source as possible. Fishers and processors who deal in the best tasting products tend to have a vested interest in the highest sustainable practices.
Get to know your fishmonger, and if they seem to know nothing about the product they’re selling you, find another fishmonger. Or enjoy the beautiful waterways and throw a line in yourself. Know what the limits are and never take home more than what you can eat. Even if you don’t catch anything, it’s a pretty pleasant way to while away a few hours.