United Kingdom haddock loses sustainable fish status

Haddock from UK waters removed from sustainable seafood list

A major row is set to explode after the Marine Conservation Society recommended that haddock, the most popular fish in the United Kingdom, be taken off the sustainable seafood list, claiming that stocks had fallen below acceptable levels in 2016.

Two North Sea haddock fisheries are now rated "amber" - scoring four on a scale of one to five, where one is the most sustainable.

Another Scottish fishery has a three rating, which means that its haddock has now been classed as one "to eat only occasionally" - a downgrade from its previous "good to buy" ranking.

"These ratings changes have come about because scientfic perception of the stock has changed".

Action had to be taken to increase the number of breeding age fish, which is one of the UK's "big five" marine species eaten, alongside cod, tuna, salmon and prawns, said the charity.

Consumers can be re-assured that quotas for haddock have already been reduced in line with the stock assessments, following an "unfortunate error by the scientists", he noted.

However, Scottish fishermen's representatives told the Guardian the move as "dressing advocacy up as science".

Haddock has now been removed from three fisheries from the Marine Conservation Society's "green" list.

Haddock from the North Sea and the west of Scotland have been taken off a list of sustainable "fish to eat".

THE Scottish Fishermen's Federation has denounced advice over the state of United Kingdom haddock stocks as "silly" and said consumers should carry on eating the species. "We have gone to enormous lengths to maintain fishing stocks, including haddock", he said.

New additions to the Guide include American lobster (rated two), which can retail at under £10 in United Kingdom supermarkets at Christmas.

There are also improvements for scampi fisheries in the west of Scotland, Clyde and Jura catch areas in the latest list from the society.

The American lobster is also becoming more common, though the MCS says to choose Marine Stewardship Council (MSC - this is getting confusing) approved specimens.

"This advice indicated that the levels of fishing that can be considered sustainable for this population are lower than previously thought, meaning a smaller proportion should be caught".

Haddock is one of the most popular species of white fish in Britain and features prominently on the menus at fish and chip shops.

"It's not just environmentally irresponsible, it's economically irresponsible, as according to our data more, not less, fish could be available if stocks are managed sustainably", Oceana commented.

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