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Sea Fish defends farmed fish as sustainable solution

20 October 2008 by

The Sea Fish Industry Authority has questioned a report by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which warns that using farmed fish does not guarantee sustainability.

The MCS's Silent Seas report suggests that severe over-fishing is the single biggest environmental threat to the UK. It warns that quotas, which lead fishermen to dump stocks overboard, and the fishing of young and too small fish, are the main threats.

The report also claims that, despite the fact that 50% of fish eaten is now farm-raised, this doesn't guarantee sustainability, due to the reliance on wild fish in the food chain.

Philip MacMullen, head of environment at Sea Fish, questioned the accuracy of the report. "A lot of the issues the report discusses are old problems that have been addressed over the past few years and regarding the problems of farmed fish it has got it wrong," he said.

"While it takes 3kg of protein to farm 1kg of fish, the food chain no longer only relies on wild fish for feed. The majority of fish feed now comes from fish not suitable for human consumption as well as soya protein and processing waste."

Nevertheless, Caroline Bennett, managing director of sushi chain Moshi Moshi, called on operators to be more creative with their menus.

"Choosing farmed fish is the easy option for restaurateurs as you can guarantee availability and size," she said. "But operators need to be bolder and stop hiding behind the ‘this is what the consumer wants' excuse espoused by supermarkets.

"By changing consumer attitudes and making them expect frequently changing menus restaurateurs can serve what is available without letting their diners down."

For more on sustainability see Caterer's Green Zone>>

The good fish guide - a sustainable guide>>

Sustainable and organic cod supplier No Catch goes into administration>>

CSR policies must impact the bottom line>>

Raymond Blanc and Tom Aikens join forces with Greenpeace>>

McDonald's lauded by RSPCA in Good Business Awards>>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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