Developing an appetite for seafood
Financial Times – UK
Seared tuna, roasted monkfish, pan-fried wild sea bass – the holy trinity of trendy menu choices: no self-respecting modern restaurant can do without them. They are to fish what Prada, Gucci and Versace are to haute couture. The venerable cod, not quite as fashionable, is still a must-have, a bit like that timeless Chanel suit.
At the other end of the scale, farmed salmon has conquered the mass markets like fake Louis Vuitton handbags: with their greasy and limp flesh they parade as the real thing to those who do not know. But just like some designer frocks hide an ugly world of sweat-shop exploitation, so lumps of monkfish and grilled salmon steaks hide the realities of overfished stocks, detrimental farming and unsustainable practices in oceans all over the world.
According to a 2002 report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, 47 per cent of world fish stocks are fully exploited, 18 per cent are overexploited and 10 per cent are severely depleted. This means 75 per cent of the world’s marine food resources are fished to the hilt. Expansion would come at the price of extinction.
At the same time, eating fish has become fashionable: it is a lean source of protein and in the case of oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel an excellent source of essential fatty acids.