Say no to calamari! Buyers are urged to avoid eating squid caught in the UK as the species is added to the ‘red list’ of seafood
- The Marine Conservation Society has updated its Good Fish Guide
- Squid caught in UK added to red list due to lack of management in place
- Experts warn we don’t know how durable fish are to catch
As the nation grabs hold of the success of Netflix Squid Game, British diners face the shame of the squid.
Diners have been urged to avoid eating UK-caught squid after it was added to a seafood ‘red list’.
The Marine Conservation Society has released an updated version of its Good Fish Guide, a directory for sourcing ocean-friendly seafood.
They are either graded green, amber, or red, indicating that they are the “best choice”, seafood that “needs improvement” or “fish to avoid”.
Some new species added to the guide have been placed directly on the Red List, including squid caught in the UK.
“Squids caught in the UK have been added to the Red List because there is no management in place to help protect them, and scientists have no figures on how many of them are living actually in our waters, so we don’t know how many are sustainable to catch, ”said Charlotte Coombes, head of the Good Fish Guide.
“The data they have suggests that populations may be declining in several areas.”
Diners urged to avoid eating UK-caught squid after it was added to a seafood ‘red list’
Simple seafood swaps
If you’re trying to be more sustainable, the Marine Conservation Society advises you to eat:
- Hake instead of cod
- Mackerel instead of tuna
- Mussels instead of shrimp
- Farmed trout instead of salmon
- Dover sole instead of haddock
Ratings for other species such as saithe – sometimes used as a substitute for cod and haddock – and North Sea shrimp have also deteriorated.
Most of the UK lobster and crab species are placed in the amber category due to lack of management and lack of quotas.
Meanwhile, there are mixed ratings for cod – one of Britain’s most popular fish.
All cod populations in UK seas are at low levels and most continue to decline. North Sea cod remain on the red list as the charity warns that warming waters are likely to be contributing to their low numbers.
However, Icelandic cod and Arctic cod caught using certain techniques remained on the green list.
The association also warned against bycatch – animals caught by accident – in many fisheries. These include porpoises, sharks and seabirds in the southwest of the UK.
Ms Coombe said: “The latest update to the Good Fish Guide ratings really highlights the impact of poorly managed fisheries on the state of our seas, with so many new ratings directly on our Fish to Avoid list.
Some new species added to the guide were put directly on the Red List, including squid caught in the UK (pictured)
Cod and haddock are also threatened
Overfishing has wiped out cod and haddock stocks on several occasions.
More recently, haddock from three fisheries in the North Sea and West of Scotland was removed from sustainable seafood lists because stocks fell below acceptable levels in 2017.
During the 1990s, Newfoundland in Canada was forced to ban cod fishing because the stocks were almost wiped out.
As rising sea temperatures reduce the size of cod and haddock, it also forces fish farther north to seek cooler waters.
“However, there are glimmers of hope, with a 20-score improvement in the last update, showing that where good management exists, we can get our seas back.”
The charity calls for management plans to be in place in fisheries across the UK for all commercially caught species, with cod, herring and squid receiving “urgent attention” .
They cite European hake – which was previously graded red – as an example of how management techniques can turn species fortunes around.
Stocks have since recovered and hake fisheries are now using pingers to deter porpoises from the area.
As a result, the species is now listed as green.
Gareth Cunningham, Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “There are clear opportunities to improve fishing in the UK.
“With the adoption of fully documented fisheries and fisheries management plans, UK seafood could be made sustainable for many years to come.
“Our notes provide further evidence that UK governments must act now, or risk tipping the scales too much.”