North Sea cod off the menu

Caterers and restaurants will come under pressure to stop serving North Sea cod and wild Atlantic salmon after the Marine Conservation Society (MSC) added them to its list of at-risk species.

The Guardian reported that the MCS will award cod from the North Sea a red rating – categorised as a fish to avoid - when it publishes its 2019 Good Fish Guide this week. It follows the news last week that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was suspending its “blue tick” certification of North Sea cod after a dramatic decline in the population. Most cod currently sold in the UK comes from other stocks including from Iceland and Norway.

The MCS is also advising consumers to avoid eating wild Atlantic salmon since there are no rivers in England or Wales where salmon stocks are meeting conservation targets and only 28% of rivers in Scotland are doing so. Shoppers are instead being advised to look for UK organic farmed salmon or fish from Scottish grade-one rivers.

In more positive news for fish lovers, UK sea-caught seabass has been removed from the MCS’s red list after stocks recovered, while hake and plaice are also highlighted as populations that are currently in good health.

“UK-caught or farmed seafood can be a great sustainable option when done right, but it is vital that people take note of what species they’re buying, where it was caught or farmed, and how,” Charlotte Coombes, the MCS Good Fish Guide manager told The Guardian. “MCS’s Good Fish Guide looks at all of these key aspects, as well as wider environmental impacts and how well-regulated the farms and fisheries are.”

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