Each year people in the UK consume hundreds of thousands of tonnes of seafood with the most popular being tuna, salmon and cod. Most of this is fished or farmed abroad and imported to the UK, despite there being dozens of species of edible fish living in our waters. We think that everyone’s resolution this New Year should be to try and eat more locally caught, sustainable fish. To make it easier to find something you’ll love, we’ve put together a list of readily available alternatives to your favourite fish.
When you think of traditional fish and chips, you immediately think of cod. In fact more than 70,000 tonnes of the fish is eaten in the UK each year, with around 90% of it being imported. With lots of species of whitefish calling our waters home, it makes much more sense to try an alternative from right here off the coast of the UK.
Pollack: As part of the cod family, UK-fished pollack has been noted as one of the best substitutes for the popular fish. Its flaky white flesh is similar in texture and flavour yet pollack is much more sustainable than its cod relative, making it a great alternative.
Gurnard: The gurnard is a firm-fleshed whitefish, commonly used in stocks and soups. Although it is sometimes described as bland in flavour, it is delicious when battered and has been known to rival the infamous cod and chips.
Whether it’s in your jacket potato or as a steak on your plate, tuna is a popular choice in the UK. Most commonly found in a tin in your cupboard, there’s an ongoing debate about the sustainability of tuna and the fishing methods used. However, if you need a quick tinned treat on the go, there are other options available.
Sardines: These little beauties are packed full of nutrients, just like the faithful tuna. Each serving is loaded with protein and omega-3 as well as being reasonably low in calories. Plus, for a tinned fish they’re low in salt too.
Mackerel: Mackerel are small oily fish which again can be found readily available in tins. They are still packed full of goodness and are low in mercury. In addition, they are highly sustainable so you can eat them as much as you’d like.
Salmon is a very versatile fish which is high in protein, omega-3 and vitamin D. It’s proven incredibly popular throughout history and can be prepared in a variety of ways such as curing, baking and smoking or even served raw. The popularity of salmon has led to the development of salmon farms, the sustainability of which is widely debated. However, there’s no need to worry about where your salmon comes from as there are some great local alternatives.
Herring: Herring can be eaten raw, cured or smoked as well as prepared in various other ways and it is also high in omega-3 and vitamin D. This means you can easily adapt recipes and use herring as a great sustainable alternative to salmon in many dishes.
Mackerel: This little fish is popping up again in our recommendations because it truly is a great alternative to other less sustainable fish. Mackerel works well as a swap for salmon in lots of recipes and is often found cured or smoked as it can spoil quickly.
To find out more about sustainable fishing visit the Marine Stewardship Council website: https://20.msc.org/what-we-are-doing/our-approach/what-is-sustainable-fishing. And for information about local fishing, recipes and guides to cooking fish visit the Plymouth Fisheries website at: http://www.plymouthfisheries.co.uk/.