After years of standing in fish shop queues watching other customers pay top dollar for overfished cod and monkfish, then smugly paying little for sustainable mackerel and gurnard, I’m gutted that the Marine Conservation Society have taken these species off their Fish to Eat lists.
OK, I suppose I’m part of the problem in that I’ve occasionally been eating the beautiful beasts, but its probably got more to do with the campaigns and recipes of big telly chefs like Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, together with the mackerels’ apparently unwise choice to swim into Icelandic waters where they fall prey to the rapacious practices of the Icelandic fishing fleet.
There is some good news though, as sardines are back on the menu ans there are lots of other fine fish to eat sustainably. One of the problems is that its difficult to know when the stocks are sustainably managed – fishmongers are usually much better places to buy fish than supermarkets because they have shorter supply chains, yet they are usually rubbish at labelling and some give you the stinkeye if you ask about the fish’s provenance.
So we need better labelling and the TV celebchefs to promote other species if we’ll get mackerel and gurnard back. Oh, and we need to eat more chickpeas instead.