In short, even the fish is in danger and the truth is that the fault is no longer just the intensive or illegal fishing methods. We consume a lot of fish and this data alone could also be fine, but the problem is that we choose it badly and that consumption choices are oriented only on a few valuable species.
According to Eumofa data , in 2018 the consumption of fish products has increased slightly across Europe (+ 3% compared to 2015) and, in particular in Italy (+ 4% compared to 2015). But due to this constant increase, many of the most commercialized species are today at their maximum exploitation limit.
Then there is a data that always emerges from statistical surveys: 73% of the fish products we consume in Europe refer to 15 species and, of these, only 5 species represent 43% of total consumption (tuna, cod, salmon, pollock and shrimp). It seems clear, therefore, that as if it were not enough to be chosen they are always the same species and that we forget that in reality our seas are full of excellent species that, systematically, we exclude from our consumption.
If we were able to shift our consumption towards lesser known products, the so-called neglected or forgotten species , we could reach a reduction in fish imports of dubious origin and sustainability, we would have a greater production and availability of local products and we could also contribute to reducing the negative impact of industrial fishing on marine ecosystems and species survival.
The most vulnerable are the largest in size, because once they are more targeted by threats such as overfishing, they grow more slowly and therefore find it more difficult to reach the age at which they can reproduce. So the most endangered species are: the white shark, the mako shark, the angel shark, the green shark, the grouper, the bluefin tuna and the swordfish.
Then there is a big difference in risk between the species that populate the great oceans and the species that populate the smaller seas, such as the Mediterranean Sea.
Based on the observations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species most at risk today are: eel, grouper, hake or cod, the boccadoro shadow, the dogfish, swordfish, turbot, bluefin tuna.
What can we do
There is only one answer: to behave as responsible consumers, capable of reversing the course if we only learn to make informed consumer choices.
Here are 6 tips to make the consumption of fish products sustainable:
- at the time of purchase, we opt for fresh and seasonal local products , not for declining fish species outside the breeding cycles (ie, taking into account only the months in which the species, while being easy to find, are not they are in the midst of their reproductive phase). In this way we will discover that there are many excellent and tasty species, which we have forgotten and which, only until a few decades ago, belonged permanently to our culinary tradition. Among these: anchovy, sardine, sandeel, mackerel, bonito, tombarello, tunned tuna, albacore, hawk, boga, mullet, horse mackerel, zerro, dolphinfish, saber fish, needlefish, leccia, menola, mostella, potassium, breed, torpedoes, shoulder strap , white dormouse;
- we control the production method and choose the products captured or bred with sustainable methods;
- we respect the minimum size : not everyone knows that the law provides for some species of minimum measures below which fishing and marketing are prohibited. This is to allow fish species to grow, reach sexual maturity and reproduce at least once;
- we contrast industrial fishing by supporting small-scale artisanal fishing which takes only what is needed from the seas, using selective gear with which only specific target species of the desired size are caught. This feature allows small-scale artisanal fishing to minimize accidental catches and minimize waste.
- Aquaculture ! That is, the “cultivation” of water for the collection of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and algae. It can be made in salt, brackish, fresh water and in any part of the world and it is precisely with it that it helps to reduce the pressure of fishing on the stocks of wild fish present in nature. Furthermore, aquaculture products, especially European ones, are of excellent quality and healthiness and among the safest in terms of health.
- The portal: being aware citizens and consumers requires knowledge and a good dose of curiosity. Everything we said in the previous points is explained clearly and effectively on the Hello Fish website ! , which aims to encourage the consumption of farmed or sustainably fished fish products.
The Hello Fish! Portal
Built on over 21 thousand information fields and created with the collaboration between Unioncamere and Mipaaft, Hello Fish ! today it is the most authoritative information portal on fish species.
It is the essential tool for the good consumer, because it explains what “small-scale fishing” and aquaculture represent and what they represent in terms of sustainability, it provides a reliable guide to sustainable and responsible consumption of fish products (compliance with minimum sizes, breeding periods, endangered species), satisfies a myriad of curiosities and describes over 130 fish species in all possible aspects, including recipes.
Hello Fish! In short, it is the journey that all those who decide to make a contribution to the salvation of our seas must make, discovering sustainable fishing and breeding products and the best methods for safe and responsible purchases.