Sustainable seafood purchases have surged in the UK after being encouraged by a new Channel 4 Fish Fight campaign, the Guardian has reported. According to leading UK supermarkets, people have started preferring species such as coley, dab, mussels, squid and sardines over salmon, cod and tuna.
The campaign has highlighted the wasteful practice of fishing industry “discard”, and encouraging fish eaters to try a different, less commercially pressured species. Programs from none other than Jamie Oliver have shown viewers new ways of cooking less popular seafood, such as mussels, squid and trout.
Supermarket Sainsbury’s reported that sales of pollack had increased by 167% week on week, and sales of mackerel were up 60%. Sales of mussels increased 16%. Sales of sustainable “line and pole caught” canned tuna were up 17%, while organic salmon sales grew 16%.
It was a similar story at the UK’s largest fish retailer, Tesco, with an increase in sales of between 25% and 45% of fresh sardines, coley, brown crab, sprats and whiting. Sales of fresh cod, herring, mussels, mackerel and canned tuna also rose.
At the time of publishing this post, there have been 583,647 people who have signed the petition supporting the campaign. I also see that the campaign has 191,232 supporters on Facebook and 14,425 followers on Twitter. A whole swag of Famous Fish Fighters are on board too, including Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervais. Fish Fighting Chefs include Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.
The question is: will increased sales of more sustainable varieties of seafood continue, or will people slip back into old habits over time? In any case, it’s certainly not a bad thing it’s happening now.
Steamed mussels, Vietnamese style Image CC licensed by morning_runtea