How to Eat Sustainably: Seafood
Do you enjoy eating fresh fish and shellfish, but are confused about sustainability? Simply follow Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's 'wave to plate' advice - part of the Great Solent Seafood campaign.
Seafood is not only delicious, it is good for our health and can be a positive choice for our local economy and our environment. However, just as on land, the quality and availability of seafood is tied to the environment, and fishing can have a significant impact on our waters – whether due to time and location of fishing, target species or equipment used.
Many local suppliers want to support more sustainable methods of fishing, however the level of demand for local species is low in the UK. Over half of what we catch is sent abroad while around 80% of what we eat is imported! What’s more, the markets we export to often place less emphasis on sustainability. Greater demand for local seafood, caught in a sustainable way, could address this issue.
Great Solent Seafood, a partnership between Hampshire Fare and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, aims to champion local sustainable seafood from wave to plate, making it easier for consumers and chefs to source, cook and eat sustainable seafood.
However, when it comes to sustainable seafood, the picture is complex. The health of seafood species and their habitats is affected by lots of different factors, and 'sustainability' can be hard to define. You may see phrases like 'responsibly sourced' or a blue tick on fish and shellfish. But what does sustainable seafood actually mean for our local waters?
The Solent is both a vibrant space for wildlife and one of the busiest waterways in Europe. Through the Great Solent Seafood campaign, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is delving into the complexities of fishing in our region, examining the factors affecting our edible species and highlighting some more sustainable options.
While no seafood is currently 100% sustainable, some choices are a much bigger step in the right direction. These recommended species are caught within or just outside of the Solent, and can be bought within Hampshire or the Isle of Wight:
Try to eat locally caught native and Manila clams, both found in the Solent. Avoid eating imported Manila clams which may come from areas that have less regulation on use of dredging gear.
Eat brown and spider crabs, both found in our waters. Avoid eating crab claws which are sometimes removed from living crabs. Also avoid eating crabs under 13cm in length.
Look for rod and line caught fish, a low impact method that forms part of the local plaice fishery. Avoid eating fresh plaice between January and March as this is the breeding season. Also avoid eating fish under 30cm in length.
Look for rod and line caught fish, as this is a low impact method that forms part of the local sole fishery. Avoid eating fresh sole between April and June as this is the breeding season. Also avoid eating fish under 30cm in length.
Hamsphire Fare will be running a series of Great Solent Seafood features and recipes. Find out more about the campaign HERE.
Photograph supplied by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust; credit Toby Roxburgh