What kind of fish can you eat?

Fish are considered healthy but not sustainable. The Consumer Centers Fish Guide provides recommendations on which fish species can still be purchased from an environmental point of view.

Is it still possible to eat fish with a clear conscience? There are different opinions on this. Organizations such as WWF or Greenpeace have in the past issued fishing guidelines that outline how much species are overfished and what the environmental impact is.

The last purchase recommendation comes from the consumer centers in Hamburg and Berlin. Together with Manfred Krautter from EcoAid, an independent sustainability consulting firm, you updated your fishing guide. It divides marine animals into the categories “recommended”, “recommended under certain conditions” and “not recommended”. Aquaculture animals such as salmon, shrimp and trout are also classified.

The foldable brochure can be downloaded and printed free of charge from the Hamburg Consumer Center website. You will also receive a printed version of the brochure for the cost of two euros.

Which fish is ecologically acceptable?

What other fish can you eat?
Fish guide: What other fish can you eat? (Photo: CC0 public domain – Pixabay / photographer)

There are many problems associated with fishing: animal suffering, environmental destruction, overfishing. There are approaches for more sustainable methods as well as seals, but Armin Valet of the Hamburg Consumer Center warns: “[M]sometimes the labels on the packaging allow more than they give ‘.

aquaculture are intended to maintain stocks, but are also criticized. “The cultivation is done […] The fishmeal caught from nature is often used in distant lands and as animal feed, ”says Valet. Therefore, not all aquaculture products are recommended.

  • Green light For example, the Hamburg Consumer Advice Center issues trout from aquaculture with an organic seal (EU, Naturland). Atlantic salmon from closed terrestrial or recirculation systems are also recommended. If it comes from Europe, the guide also recommends a salmon from EU cages with organic or Naturland seals.
  • If a popular fish from European aquaculture (net cage systems) has only or no Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) seal, the guide conditionally recommended.
  • If the salmon comes from Chilean aquaculture, so be it advises the Consumer Center from the time of purchase away.

at Wild caught fish Among other things, the main fishing area, sub-fishing area and fishing methods were examined. The fisherman also takes into account whether the fish has a certificate.

  • like recommended the guide classifies Alaska pollock from, inter alia, the north-west Pacific (FAO 61) and the north-east Pacific (FAO 67), if assigned the MSC seal.
  • Alaska Pollock is unmarked not recommended. The category also includes, for example, sea cream and scamp (all varieties except the Skagerrak and Kattegat) caught with northern otter and beam trawls in the north-east Atlantic.
  • Conditional is a redfish from the North Atlantic, Iceland, if it has an MSC seal.

According to the website, the recommendations are valid until August 2023 at the latest.

Fischratgeber: What criteria did the Consumer Center use to evaluate?

What makes fish desirable? The fish guide for the Hamburg and Berlin Consumer Centers is based on previous assessments by the institutions

  • WWF
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Maritime Protection Association
  • Fishsource, the NGO’s Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Platform

According to the press release, the assessments of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and NABU were also taken into account where appropriate.

The assessments on which the guidance is based must be scientifically sound, take into account the effects on the marine environment and be updated annually to take them into account. The assessment was carried out by Manfred Krautter, an independent sustainability consultant. We did not find more detailed information on how individual factors, such as animal welfare or overfishing rates, were considered.

The WWF’s fish guide is even more transparent. The documents describe exactly how each species is assessed. In addition, the fish guide provides detailed information on each fish species, including their problems. WWF cites a total of 44 species as “good choices”, although mostly only under certain conditions. The Consumer Centers’ Fish Guide also provides a total of 14 recommendations for wild-caught fish and eight aquaculture – each with restrictions.

Utopia says: 31 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overfished and another 58 percent are fished to the limit. In addition, there are many other problems that are losing fish meat: the destruction of valuable habitats through trawling and aquaculture, the pollution of water bodies, the risk of by-catches of other species (38 million tonnes a year alone, ie 40% of global catches).

Because the situation is so complex, individual seals are often not enough to give customers comprehensive advice when shopping. If you want to buy “better” fish, you should definitely look into it in advance.

Or better yet, do without fish and try vegetarian food instead. We do not need fish for health: we can also cover the need for omega-3 fatty acids with other foods, such as algae oil, walnuts or linseed oil.

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