According to recent research, nearly 50% of all fish eaten in the UK is consumed specifically for its health benefits. What’s more, the average UK shopper spends around £110 on seafood every year – with only 3% of shoppers choosing not to buy fish at all.
This is great news for the nation’s health. However, for the UK’s fishing industry, this would be a more promising trend if not up to 80% of the country’s seafood consumption came from abroad.
It’s a struggle that the fishing industry has increasingly vocalised in recent years. And yet, there is still a lack of awareness amongst consumers about where their food comes from and how it’s caught.
We all know we have fantastic produce right here in the UK. So if you want to support your local fishermen and boost your health, here’s how to do your bit.
This one seems a bit obvious. But visiting your local fishmonger (rather than heading straight to the supermarket, if possible) could go a long way in supporting the UK’s fishing industry.
It’s also good to ask where the produce comes from. If you’re in a restaurant, for example, it doesn’t hurt to show an interest in their menu and find out more about their suppliers. It could make a difference somewhere down the line.
If you’re one of the many trying out the ketogenic, or ‘keto’ diet, fish can play a big part in delivering you the required healthy fats. But it’s got to be wild.
Going beyond the ‘Big Five’
You might have heard of the Big Five before. It’s the most popular fish and seafood consumed in the UK:
One of the downsides of having a Big Five is that we put a lot of pressure on these species. It also puts added pressure on the industry too, potentially encouraging fishermen to throw away some stock in favour for others.
Consumers can help tackle this issue by choosing a wider variety of fish to eat. Sometimes even substituting one or two portions a week, if you eat your recommended amount, can go a long way.
If you’re wedded to the Big Five in terms of flavour and texture, try these alternatives.
- If you love cod – try coley. It’s just as flavoursome, but often much cheaper.
- If you love haddock – try flounder or soul. They have the same delicate flavour profile.
- If you love salmon – try Trout and mackerel. Both are high in fatty acids and oils.
- If you love prawns – try langoustines or crayfish.
- If you love tuna – try canned sardines. They’re saltier, but have the same meaty consistency that keeps tuna lovers happy.
Keep up to date with policy
You don’t need to become a political activist. Nevertheless, keeping up to date with what’s happening is a good way to show your support for the industry.
In many cases changes in policy or regulation have a direct impact on consumers too. This includes everything to what we export, what we eat, and potentially how strong our overall economy is.
You can learn more about policy and the latest research by visiting seafish.org.
How to support your local fishermen
Like many things small, consistent efforts can go a long way to making a difference right here in the UK. And doing things like changing how you shop, what you eat, and your awareness of the industry’s challenges is a great starting point.