THE MARINE Conservation Society (MSC) has released the latest version of its sustainable seafood guide, in which the organisation say that North Sea cod should remain off limits.
Despite a decrease in the amount of North Sea cod being fished over recent years the MSC says that the latest data from The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) shows that levels of cod in the North Sea have only risen to slightly above safe levels.
The charity says it is still too soon for North Sea supplies of this iconic fish to be back on our menus, and therefore it remains on the Fish to Avoid list in its latest version of the MCS Fishonline website.
MCS Fisheries Officer, Bernadette Clarke, says: “The efforts of fishers and managers have placed cod in the North Sea on the road to recovery. Programmes such as the Conservation Credits Scheme - which rewards fishermen for adopting conservation measures with additional days at sea – together with more effective long-term management plans will hopefully see the fishery continue to recover in the coming years. Our advice remains to seek alternatives to North Sea cod. There are more sustainable cod fisheries that we currently rate as Fish to Eat.”
The MSC is urging consumers to use the Fishonline website to find alternative fish to eat, or to look out for cod from MSC certified fisheries.
It also announced that a number of species had moved onto the ‘Fish to Eat’ list, such as haddock from Iceland, and herring trawled in the Irish Sea.
Trawled seabass – a popular restaurant favourite - has been moved down the list to a 5 rating on the Fish to Avoid list – the lowest rating possible – as it becomes increasingly over-fished.
This is largely due to the fact it is not classed as a commercial species and so does not have a quota or limit on how much can be taken.
MCS says it’s vital that the public, chefs, retailers and fish buyers keep referring to the Fishonline website, the Pocket Good Fish Guide or the app version on iPhone or android, to ensure they have the most up-to-date sustainable seafood advice.