As the UK prepares to leave the EU and fisheries talks get underway to try to secure us a bigger share of the fish post Brexit, the Marine Conservation Society says now is the time to swap the traditional UK top five favourite fish for new choices.

Instead of the traditional, cod, haddock, salmon, prawns and tuna the Society wants us to try  dab, hake, herring, mussels and mackerel.

The MCS, post Brexit, Best Choice Top 10

  • Dab, seine netted in the North Sea
  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified hake from Cornwall
  • MSC certified herring from Irish, Celtic and North Seas, SW Ireland and Eastern English Channel
  • Mackerel, handlined in the southwest of England, and MINSA (Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance) North East Atlantic MSC certified
  • Megrim from the Northern North Sea and West of Scotland
  • UK rope-grown mussels
  • Brown crab from Devon Inshore Potting Area, Western Channel
  • Queen scallops from the Fal Estuary, fished by traditional sail and oar method
  • Pollack handlined from the Celtic sea
  • Sole, Dover from the Western Channel

By choosing from a wider range we’ll be putting far less stress on individual fisheries,” says Bernadette Clarke, MCS Good Fish Guide Programme Manager, who suggests a post-Brexit UK Top 10 which includes great tasting fish that aren’t a household name – yet.

MCS says that there are some very good reasons for going local aside from complicated economics: lower food miles and carbon footprint; fresh fish can be tastier and better quality; good for the local economy; more choices; better traceability so you get what you pay for.

“We are currently exporting around 75% of fish caught and landed in the UK, but we’re the ninth largest importer of fish in the world with around 70% of the seafood value entering the UK fish supply chain coming from overseas. By choosing more sustainable sources and keeping it local it will help reduce wasting wild caught fish that are discarded dead because they have less value,” says Bernadette Clarke.

In the latest Good Fish Guide updates, MSC certified brown crab from both Shetland and Orkney, MSC certified sardine ring-netted in Cornwall and harpooned swordfish all move off the Best Choice list. Green listed non-movers this time around include Pacific halibut, mackerel and organic farmed Atlantic salmon.

At the other end of the scale is the red rated, Fish to Avoid list. Fisheries moving onto the red list include ones for red mullet, nursehound, cuckoo, spotted and roker ray species, wild seabass from Biscay and Atlantic bigeye.

Improving and off the red list are undulate ray from the English Channel; albacore from the Mediterranean and bigeye from western central Pacific Ocean.  Non-movers on the red list are wild seabass; skate; shark; spurdog and wild Atlantic salmon.


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