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Endangered species of fish on London menus


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So my question is this: What's the level of recognition of the endangerment of this species in the UK?

I regret that it wasn't on my civilian radar, and I generally take an interested in 'moral' issues surrounding food supplies. Explains a comment that perplexed me the other day though...

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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On The Restaurant thread Jamie Maw asked:

"I understand why sea bass is such a popular restaurant dish--it's forgiving even in the hands of novitiates, holds well and is naturally unctuous. For these reasons it's also been a popular catering (event) entree.

So my question is this: What's the level of recognition of the endangerment of this species in the UK? And, same question, regards Russian caviar, bluefin, local species etc. I've read several articles of interest in The Guardian, but are these issues on the civilian radar yet?"

Is the Sea Bass served in London an endangered species? Are you aware of other endangered species and would you avoid ordering them if you saw them offered on a restaurant menu?

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It's a tricky one, as most farmed fish is pretty poor, and also pretty bad for the environment. But on the other hand, trawled fish is bad for fish stocks. Whats a fish lover to do? try to insist on line caught fish, or organically farmed salmon and trout is about it, well apart from avoiding species which are endangered (cod from british waters, skate from anywhere, etc, etc)

sea bass are not endangered, they're fewer and further between than they used to be, but as the vast majority served worldwide are farmed, wild stocks remain healthy

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I assume.perhaps wrongly, that most bass on the menu is farmed and that the damage to the species is more from the by-products of the fish farming industry. The one fish that does upset me is marlin, increasingly endangered and yet still sold in English supermarkets.

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I think most people are very unaware.

Sea Bass is a bad one, but equally if not worse is cod. Hello, people, this fish was made nearly extinct in Canada 10 years ago. How long before fish 'n' chip shops find an alternative?? Why are we still selling it in supermarkets???

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Are we getting mixed up with Chilean Sea Bass, and 'Real' Sea Bass?

Our native Sea Bass is not endangered, as far as I am aware.

I got some swordfish at the weekend, that's endangered isn't it , I never even thought when I bought it :sad:

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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It all depends on who you listen to.North Sea Cod is fucked, but i'm told we have plenty down here in the South West.Govertment should be telling fishermen what they can land and what they can't.Then we chefs will have to buy what is available, and the punters can order with a clear consience, But with the present system of Fish quotas controlled my Euopen Govertment(an i don't even pretend to understand that) our Govt is about as usefull as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.

Farmed fish looks good on paper as a sustainable system, but what you get is "battery " fish, fecking pointless.I don't use farmed fish...ever.

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Are we getting mixed up with Chilean Sea Bass, and 'Real' Sea Bass?

Our native Sea Bass is not endangered, as far as I am aware.

I got some swordfish at the weekend, that's endangered isn't it , I never even thought when I bought it  :sad:

The overfishing of toothfish (Patagonian and other) was accelerated in the 80s off the coastline of South America when it was rebranded as 'Chilean Sea Bass'. Here we would now loudly remonstrate a restaurant or fishmonger still deigning to serve it--there's just no excuse.

I think I'm right in saying that European sea bass is also threatened. Swordfish is too, and good of you to 'fess up; it's a real re-education for all of us to become more concious, and then conscientious.

A Sustainability Luncheon that we recently convened in Vancouver proved that local, sustainable seafood products are often better than long distance stuff anyway. Hopefully, consumers leading the charge can assist in re-educating suppliers as well.

Canada's shame lies in the rapacious overfishing of the Atlantic Cod; not only was it fished out (to an extent where it might not ever recover) but its supporting biomass was too.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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To read it like that left me perplexed!

I know that we have a general problem with big trawlers that are wiping out whole shoals with 6 mile drag nets fishing is no longer the boat and a couple of men.

I thought even cod stocks were deterioating, wasn't there a slight ban on cod fishing? Having come from a sea side town I'm aware of a few facts regarding fishing.

One thing that always baffled me its illegal to bring just crab claws to land, but really how do you get crabs out of your nets I get the impression it's not a pretty site. I've seen a 16ib line caught beach sea bass, yet most seem to be in the 1- 1 1/2 ib size and farmed. I worked with a chef who would only take stiff alive and in nearly 2 and half years we were only offered 2 turbots caught together, so there must be a problem.

Which would leave me to believe that the natural resources must be depleted if it is finiacialy viable to farm fish. For surely if the stocks where there a simple fishing trip would be cheaper and easier than farming.

A lot of the runs seem to to not really turn up, turn up late, fishing trips come home empty handed. In my home town mackerel would be brought by the fishmongers for about £3-4 a stone 14ib will there be a day when we farm mackerel?

I think you started a good topic I'd be interested to hear whart others have to say.

Stef

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!
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Superb topic, Andy. Although there are obvious discrepencies between our oceans, here's a list--local to British Columbia but with some generic bycatches:

RED LIGHT: DO NOT EAT

Caviar (Sturgeon), Chilean sea bass (Patagonian toothfish), Cod (Atlantic), Hake/surimi (fake crab meat), Haddock (Atlantic), Halibut (Atlantic)

Hoki (Atlantic, New Zealand), King Crab, Monkfish, Orange roughy*

Pollock (Alaska, Atlantic), Rockfish, including red snapper

Prawns (imported, especially 'Thai tiger'), Salmon (farmed or Atlantic),

Sharks and skate, Shrimp (imported), Sturgeon

Swordfish, Tuna (Bluefin), Turbot (Arrowtooth flounder)

Eulachon, Grouper, Abalone

YELLOW LIGHT: ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS/BE CAUTIOUS

Dolphin-fish (mahi-mahi), Lingcod, Lobster (Atlantic), Octopus (Atlantic), Prawns (US farmed or wild), Rainbow trout (farmed), Salmon (wild--especially Northern Coho--Pacific), Scallops, Shrimp (domestic, trawl-caught), Sole, Snow Crab, Squid (Atlantic), Tuna (Yellowfin or skipjack).

GREEN LIGHT: GOOD TO GO:

Anchovies, Clams, Catfish (farmed), Dogfish, Dungeness crab, Halibut (Pacific)

Herring (Pacific), Mackeral, Mussels, Octopus (Paciifc), Oysters (except pregnant women), Pacific black cod (sablefish)

Prawns (trap-caught Pacific), Rock lobster (Australian and Hawaiian-deep sea farmed), Sardines, Squid (Pacific), Tilapia (farmed), Tuna (albacore), Uni (sea urchin).

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I think it would be very interesting to compare this list with one published in the UK. There are some real surprises on it. I had assumed the likes of Pollock, Hake and especially Hoki to be in plentiful supply given their low price in this country.

I'm in the very early stages of trying to organise a sustainability event in London which will attempt to facilitate a sharing of knowledge and expertise on the subject between Canada and the UK. I'll post more once I have made some progress in getting a chef and other experts in the UK interested. Vancouver are already on board with the idea.

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Jamie, could you explain the source of the list and what it means?

Presumable things are on there for different reasons -- imported shrimp are presumably on the list not because shrimp are in danger of being extinct but because of ecological concerns about intensive farming in Vietnam?

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Jamie, could you explain the source of the list and what it means?

Presumable things are on there for different reasons -- imported shrimp are presumably on the list not because shrimp are in danger of being extinct but because of ecological concerns about intensive farming in Vietnam?

balex,

The source of the list is a composite of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Ocean Science Centre/Monterrey Aquarium lists of Red/Flashing Amber/Green. Take it for what you will, there's also a dollop of what I believe that you might--in your country--call 'received wisdom' included. And yes, Thai- and Vietnamese-farmed shrimp (and prawns) are an ugly scab indeed.

For further information you might care to dial in the Vancouver Forum, where sustainability is a topic of frequent and fervent discussion: there are several threads there that speak to both salmon farming, the sustainability of our coastal seafood resources and precisely what a modern cod-piece might look like.

Cheers,

J.

PS: Off your shores, where is the best research being undertaken, analyzed and written about? From over here, it all appears to be in The Guardian.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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the list is a little confusing as things on it are incuded for different reasons, also why do some farmed fish appear in every group? why are farmed salmon worse that farmed rainbow trout which in turn are worse than farmed catfish??

sure there are bad salmon farms, there are just as many bad trout farms though.......

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the list is a little confusing as things on it are incuded for different reasons, also why do some farmed fish appear in every group? why are farmed salmon worse that farmed rainbow trout which in turn are worse than farmed catfish??

sure there are bad salmon farms, there are just as many bad trout farms though.......

Salmon are farmed in cages in open water (e.g. sea lochs). They tend to pollute the surrounding water. Also the salmon feed is made from fish, so lots of other endangered species become more endangered as a result.

Rainbow trout are farmed inland in ponds. I'm not sure what they are fed on, but I hope it isn't sea fish. I don't know why they are in the middle category though.

The table doesn't make any distinction between organic or ordinary farmed salmon. Anyone know if there is a significant difference there? The organic farmed salmon I buy isn't nearly as pink, so I guess less food colouring is being chucked into the sea, but otherwise I don't really know what difference there is.

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i'm perfectly aware of how salmon are farmed, and not all of them are farmed at sea, it's quite common for them to be farmed in inland waters.

farmed fish are fed on pellets made from fish oil, cereal and assorted 'fish protein' basically scraps of other fish that have no use, bones, guts, heads etc, all whizzed up and made into a delightful little pellet. the kind of fish oil and scraps varies from fish farm to fish farm, but thats the basic feed

Edited by fisherman (log)
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Jamie,

I am presuming you know of/have read Charles Clover's excellent book End of the Line? It's fabulous, and so densely researched it's a great tool for knowing more about this issue.

PS he works for the Telegraph - he's our environment editor

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Ahh... All this is taking me back to my days as A Liverpool University Marine Biology under-graduate.

We spent quite a lot of time on fisheries ecology and population growth (Liverpool Uni is unique is that it actually prepares government fisheries reports, albeit it is for the Manx government...) and like many biological systems it can be reduced to a set fo fairly accurate mathamatical rules and equations.

To be honest it can all get pretty heavy, and thus I made sure I studiously avoided selecting any questions on the subject in my finals (rocky shore ecology was much easier). One of the few things that did stay with me though was to do with tipping points. Studies of fish populations show that if mature fish numbers drop below a certain point (which theoretically can be calculated) then the the population will go into terminal and irreversible decline, even though they may be thousands or millions of fish still in the sea, and even if a fishing moritorium is introduced.

I think that this is part of what leads to the conflcit between fishermen and scientists (that and the hypocritical, illogical and frequently unpolicable rules and regulations that different governments keep introducing). Scientists can see that fish stocks are reaching a point of no return, whilst fishermen point out that there are still many fish to be caught, and if they don't do so then another country's fleet will.

Sadly, in light of the slow and fiercely-fought tightening of regulations regarding cod fishing I would be suprised to see significant growth in its populations within our lifetime. It will become either a commercially unviable luxury ingredient or just plain extinct.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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I think it would be very interesting to compare this list with one published in the UK. There are some real surprises on it. I had assumed the likes of Pollock, Hake and especially Hoki to be in plentiful supply given their low price in this country.

I'm in the very early stages of trying to organise a sustainability event in London which will attempt to facilitate a sharing of knowledge and expertise on the subject between Canada and the UK. I'll post more once I have made some progress in getting a chef and other experts in the UK interested. Vancouver are already on board with the idea.

I thought those Pollock and Hoki were usually mentioned as sustainable alternatives to cod? Do we need to find a new 'other white fish'?

Is Haddock ok? I like Haddock. And what about Sea Bream - Hardly ever see it but a guy who comes to our local farmers market with the catch off his little boat says he gets loads of them.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Dr. John Nightingale of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, in his speech recently delivered at the C Sustainability Luncheon, grabbed our attention with two statistics:

1. Globally, 90% of the animals over 6 feet long that inhabit our oceans have disappeared.

2. At least 50% of the seafood consumed in British Columbia is consumed in restaurants.

Even I could connect those dots: The consumer has the power to strongly influence change and the collaborative of chefs has the power to influence the consumer, the distributor and the fishers.

By the way here's the menu for the C Sustainability Luncheon (Post # 4) held earlier this month, proof indeed that local, sustainable ingredients (including live-caught salmon--it's all about the love) often taste better than bedraggled offshore specimens. I hope that we can replicate the success (both educational and culinary) of this luncheon in other centres, particularly London.

Anyway, here's the thread that that began the discussion.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Sea bass seems to be more of a food icon, then a delcious relality in the UK, the vast majority that I have seen is farmed tastes like the mushy crap that it is. I can not understand why people will pay £14 for such rubbish. Other farmed fish that I have seen recently are sea bream,cod, turbot and sea trout. My fishmonger commneted recently that although the farmed fish get better ever year, in general they are 'not quite right'.

I see that there was a comment ot the effect that fish meal is made of scraps of edible fish species, my impression was that the majority of fish meal is made from "industrial" fish such as sand eels, which puts farmed fish in direct competition with wild fish for resources (not to mention puffins etc etc)?

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Is Haddock ok? I like Haddock. And what about Sea Bream - Hardly ever see it but a guy who comes to our local farmers market with the catch off his little boat says he gets loads of them.

the good news is that rod caught sea bream can be eaten with a clear conscience, which is a good thing, as they're one of my favourite fish

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