Facts

URL – http://www.fishfight.net/ – Sat 10 March

• Half of all fish caught in the north sea are thrown back overboard dead

• Others are prime cod, haddock, plaice and other popular food species that are “over-quota”. The quota system is intended to protect fish stocks by setting limits on how many fish of a certain species should be caught. Fishermen are not allowed to land any over-quota fish; if they accidentally catch them – which they can’t help but do – there is no choice but to throw them overboard before they reach the docks.

• By 2014 all UK tuna suppliers will have changed their fishing methods to protect sharks and turtles.

URL – http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyID=800 – Sat 10 March

• Central to the livelihood and food security of 200 million people, especially in the developing world, while one of five people on this planet depends on fish as the primary source of protein.

• The rapid growth in demand for fish and fish products is leading to fish prices increasing faster than prices of meat. As a result, fisheries investments have become more attractive to both entrepreneurs and governments, much to the detriment of small-scale fishing and fishing communities all over the world.

• In the last decade, in the north Atlantic region, commercial fish populations of cod, hake, haddock and flounder have fallen by as much as 95%, prompting calls for urgent measures.

• According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.

• The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems.

URL – http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/fisheries/statistics/documents/ukseafish/2010/final.pdf

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Depleting cod:

North sea cod, Irish sea cod, West of Scotland cod, Celtic Sea cod, North Sea Plaice, Irish Sea Place, North Sea Sole, Irish Sea Sole

URL – http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=238http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=238

URL – http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/britains-unadventurous-fish-eaters-told-to-take-the-plunge-and-try-gurnard-2178073.html

1. Tuna (72m tonnes)

Of total fish consumption: 19.2 per cent. Value: £337m

Problems: Yellow-fin, bigeye and bluefin are overfished and dolphins and turtles caught in nets

2. Salmon (47m tonnes)

Of total fish consumption: 12.4 per cent. Value: £632m

Small wild fish such as anchovies fatten farmed salmon. Three kilos produce one kilo of farmed salmon

3. Cod (42m tonnes)

Of total fish consumption: 11.1 per cent. Value: £318m

Problems: Although recovering, North Sea stocks are less than 5 per cent of historic levels. Most of our cod now comes from the Barents Sea and Iceland

4. Prawns (33m tonnes)

Of total fish consumption: 8.9 per cent. Value: £365m

… and what we should eat

Gurnard

A wedge-like fish with a bulbous head, the gurnard wins no beauty contests but is probably the tastiest under-exploited fish in the sea. Fry with mushrooms and thyme

Sprats

Tiny, cheap fish, best barbecued and served with a mustard dip

Mussels

Rope-grown mussels are highly sustainable and delicious when cooked in white wine and garlic

Mackerel, sardines and pollock

Currently the sixth, seventh and eighth most popular fish by volume in the UK, they are relatively plentiful and, in the case of mackerel and sardine, rich in fish oils.

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