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A very fishy tale

I love fish. I love eating fish and I love them populating our oceans and waterways.

So, when my colleague mentioned an app and website by Forest & Bird that helps you choose the most sustainably-sourced seafood, I was quick to check it out. I was shocked to discover through the Best Fish Guide 2017 many of my favourite fish are among the least-sustainable seafood choices, including snapper and tarakihi. The guide also recommends eating less hoki, John Dory and farmed or marine salmon (except from Canterbury). Salmon that’s marine and freshwater farmed in Canterbury is a sustainable option, the guide says, thankfully.

If you’re interested in sustainability, it’s fantastic to have a guide to empower us to make the better choices to buying seafood and enjoying its health benefits.

What did puzzle me, though, was that a website by the New Zealand Seafood industry has parked itself at an almost identical website address.

The Forest & Bird Best Fish Guide is bestfishguide.org.nz and the Seafood New Zealand website is bestfishguide.co.nz. The Seafood New Zealand site contains no specific information on choosing sustainable options but talks about how the industry is developing initiatives to try to help.

The website opens with a heading ‘Choose New Zealand Sustainable Seafood’. When you click on that it scrolls down to another heading ‘Choose your sustainable New Zealand Seafood Species’, below which is a photo gallery of ‘Types of seafood’. The trouble is, the way the page is set up makes the user likely to think the fish in the photo gallery are all sustainable options.  But many are not.  The gallery even includes the longfin eel, which is threatened with extinction.

My cynical side wonders if this site is a decoy but I’m sure Seafood New Zealand has plenty invested in sustainable fisheries too.

Check them both out and let me know what you think.

Date modified: 17 February 2021
First published: Jan 2017


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