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Sea Bass - a nasty rumour?


Hallie
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Please confirm or deny - I heard recently that our voracious appetite for sea bass is once again jeopardising the lives of poor dolphins who become caught in fishing nets.

Say it ain't so.

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I'm with Jon on this. Generally in Europe they are farmed. In fact, we are off to Symi (weeny Greek Island) on Sunday, and they have a farm about 2 miles off land. It generally keeps the small island going when it is not tourist season.

The islanders say that it has not had a bad effect on the local ecology, it has instead rejuvinated the sponge that grows locally which was nearly wiped out in the early 1900's, So farmed Seabass is having a positive presence in the food chain. ahhhhh.... :smile:

I've not seen any dolphins in the Dodeconese, so I'm not sure if they are getting trapped in the fence wires. :unsure:

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the recent Guardian food pull out put sea bass on the list of fish to not eat. their arguement was based around the idea that farming fish is bad for the environment (as i recall) and wild numbers of the fish have dropped dangerously low.

i'll try and dig the arcticle out, i was sure it was on my desk...

i've tried thr guardian archive and the food suppliments don't seem to be on there.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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I don't have any specific statistics on the decline of dolphins owing to sea-bass fishing but this is a problem faced with all large-scale net fishing.

The sea bass you should buy is line-caught. There are also new nets being tested with (I think) rigid square panel escape hatches through which dolphins can escape. In trials so far they don't actually escape through these panels, but are scared by the new nets and so stay away entirely. More research needs to be done along these lines.

However, we should try not to eat too much of any one given species: farming can have negative effects on the ecosystem (parasites breed, the water becomes eutrophied and so on...) while overfishing has already stripped the Newfoundland cod banks and inshore North Sea waters of all cod (in practical terms).

The MSC puts its logo to fish which is caught in the correct manner from sustainable stocks but they have recently been making some dodgy pronouncements about large-scale farms. Some are unhappy that the WWF has ceded much of their control over the organisation; John Gummer is now a senior board member.

If you want to sleep easy, buy lesser-known line-caught species from day boats. If you're eating out, it's harder to know where the fish comes from. Bizarrely, Little Chef has some part of its menu cleared by the MSC and The Aquarium - a quite different, really rather good restaurant run by a couple of Swedes in St Katherine's Dock, London - has the fisheries content of its menu endorsed by the WWF.

Anyway, I reckon you should eat gurnard instead: a few fiddly bones but sweet, firm flesh with no grey goo under the skin.

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Confusingly, there are two organisations based in the UK with similar acronyms: the Marine Stewardship Council and the Marine Conservation Society. IMHO, the latter offers much more in the way of practical guidance -- it is the source of the list of fish to eat and avoid mentioned earlier in the thread. Its website is http://www.mcsuk.org/ and it has details of the lists and also its book, "The Good Fish Guide".

It has this to say about sea bass:

Avoid European seabass unless line caught or farmed: trawl fisheries target pre-spawning & spawning fish, also high levels of cetacean by-catch. Presumably, by farmed it means "responsibly farmed"....

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I've found that article. If anyone wants the full list (including fish to eat with a clearer conscience) please PM me and I'll find a way to scan it in.

The black list is:

Atlantic Cod (eat line caught Icelandic instead)

Atlantic Salmon (eat wild pacific or organically farmed)

Chilean Seabass (no alternative)

Dogfish (no alternative)

European Hake (eat South African)

European Seabass (eat line caught or farmed...interesting)

Grouper (no alternative)

Haddock (eat line caught Icelandic)

Ling (no alternative)

Martlin (no alternative)

Monkfish (no alternative)

North Atlantic halibut (eat line caught Pacific or farmed North Atlantic)

Orange Roughy (no alternative)

Shark (no alternative)

Skates and Rays (no alternative)

Snapper (no alternative)

Sturgeon (no alternative although they're starting to farm it)

Swordfish (no alternative)

Tuna (eat pole or line caught and stick to yellow fin or skipjack) (preferably not Princes)

Warm water or tropical prawns (eat responsibly farmed prawns)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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I don't have any specific statistics on the decline of dolphins owing to sea-bass fishing but this is a problem faced with all large-scale net fishing.

The sea bass you should buy is line-caught.  There are also new nets being tested with (I think) rigid square panel escape hatches through which dolphins can escape. In trials so far they don't actually escape through these panels, but are scared by the new nets and so stay away entirely. More research needs to be done along these lines.

However, we should try not to eat too much of any one given species: farming can have negative effects on the ecosystem (parasites breed, the water becomes eutrophied and so on...) while overfishing has already stripped the Newfoundland cod banks and inshore North Sea waters of all cod (in practical terms). 

The MSC puts its logo to fish which is caught in the correct manner from sustainable stocks but they have recently been making some dodgy pronouncements about large-scale farms. Some are unhappy that the WWF has ceded much of their control over the organisation; John Gummer is now a senior board member.

If you want to sleep easy, buy lesser-known line-caught species from day boats. If you're eating out, it's harder to know where the fish comes from. Bizarrely, Little Chef has some part of its menu cleared by the MSC and The Aquarium - a quite different, really rather good restaurant run by a couple of Swedes in St Katherine's Dock, London - has the fisheries content of its menu endorsed by the WWF.

Anyway, I reckon you should eat gurnard instead: a few fiddly bones but sweet, firm flesh with no grey goo under the skin.

Link caught fish = dead Albatross.

One kilo of farmed fish = three kilos of 'industrial' fish

eat less fish.

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