Sustainable fish: Top five fish eaten in the UK and their alternatives

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd June 2015
This month we've been taking a closer look at sustainable fishing. Here we take a look at the most eaten fish in the UK and the lesser known species you can use on your menu to replace them. Overfishing is putting a lot of our marine life in danger. At this rate, by 2020 the world will need an additional 23 million tonnes of seafood to maintain the per-capita consumption of aquatic foods! Fisherman_Peter_Bruce1Sourcing fish responsibly is an important way of maintaining fish stocks and protecting endangered species. Preserving the sea’s fish stocks requires everyone in the seafood supply chain to participate. We have to all work together, from fisherman adjusting their practices to chefs and restaurant owners marketing a larger variety of seafood. Firstly, it is vital to make sure the fish are coming from well-managed and sustainable stocks. Andy Gray, trade marketing manager of Seafish, said: “The key to buying responsibly is to look for transparency and traceability so that you can be confident of the provenance both of the produce itself and the supply chain that has brought it to market.” There are lots of options available to you when you’re buying fish, so it’s okay to be fussy! Make sure you consider all of your choices, which include purchasing through a direct sale, wholesaler, foodservice supplier, merchant and processor.Fishmonger1 _11_ Andy explained: “Once you are sure you properly understand and have evidence of the respective seafood’s provenance you can decide which factors matter to you and your business and make informed and ‘responsible’ choices accordingly.” Secondly, vary the fish on your menu. Here, in the UK we don’t seem to wander very far from our favourite fish, which is a shame because there are so many other species out there with excellent flavours! “UK consumers often have a more limited palate than consumers in other parts of the world,” said Andy. “So we tend to stick to consuming what we know (i.e. the main five species salmon, cod, haddock, prawns and tuna).” There are lots of different species of fish and it’s a good idea to promote some of the lesser-known types on your menu. Andy explained: “There is a huge variety of great tasting fish and shellfish available in the UK – some other readily available species that many people may not have tried include gurnard, hake, whiting, dab, mackerel, John Dory, razor clams, langoustine, etc.” seafish_ewanshears _135_Not only can the inclusion of these fish make a menu more interesting but they can also help customers accept a larger variety of fish. Some species of fish however, are only obtainable at certain times of the year depending on their seasonal availability. Yet, by embracing these types of fish you can encourage customers to try a variety of new species and keep your menu fresh. Andy said: “This seasonal aspect provides a great opportunity for chefs and foodservice operators to focus on and promote different species of seafood at different times of the year, which provides change and variety to menus” He added: “A daily ‘Catch of the Day’ specials board can be a fantastic way to promote fish and shellfish to your customers.” Here’s the five main species of fish consumed in the UK and some tasty alternatives: Cod As a member of the whitefish family cod is flaky and mild in flavour. It can be baked, fried, grilled, microwaved, poached and steamed. Pollock, coley and hake can all be great alternatives for cod on the menu. Pollock and coley are available all year round but accessibility can vary during different months. The availability of pollock fluctuates between June and October, whilst coley differs in January, May June and July. Likewise, Hake is available for most of the year although availability tends to be poor between December and January and can vary between February and April, then again between September and November. HaddockHADDOCK Haddock is a whitefish with a slightly sweeter taste, but less flaky texture, than cod. It can be baked, grilled and fried. Pollock, Coley and Hake can be good replacements for Haddock on the menu. Atlantic Salmon Salmon is a coldwater fish that can be eaten cold or warm. It can be baked, fried, grilled, microwaved, poached and steamed. Rainbow trout can be a good substitute on the menu and is available all year round. pacific-bluefin-tunaTuna Tuna is a gamefish that can be baked, grilled and fried. The population of bluefin tuna have seriously deteriorated as a result of overfishing but skipjack and yellowfin tuna are just as delicious, maybe more so, and are available all year round.     King Prawn The king prawn is a type of shellfish that can be baked, fried, grilled, microwaved and poached. Western_King_prawnScottish langoustines can make a good substitute for King Prawns on the menu and they are available all year round (but are at their best in from October to February). Alternatively, like prawns; crab goes nicely with strong flavours such as chilli. Crabs are at their best from April to June but their availability is poor from November to December. By Abbie Cattano We've teamed up with Seafish who are giving away their Seafood Guide with lots of useful information about seafood seasonality, where seafood comes from, species information, etc. Usually £5.00 per copy, the first 100 readers of The Staff Canteen to email cara@thestaffcanteen.com with the subject SEAFISH and their contact details, can get their hands on 3 FREE copies each. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd June 2015

Sustainable fish: Top five fish eaten in the UK and their alternatives