Kate‘s post ‘Fishing for facts’ on hillsandplainsseedsavers.blogspot.com got me thinking about sustainable fish. We almost always buy our fish from a stall in the market here in Gabian. It is all caught from the family boat which comes into Valras-plage, less than 40 km from here, and is brought here fresh, sometimes still alive. This seems to be a good way to buy fish. I do still have questions about sustainability though, and it seems hard to find answers to them. You can find lists of fish to eat and fish to avoid at www.fishonline.org but this site is centred on the UK and its advice applies to fish available in the UK. I haven‘t been able to find a similar list for Mediterranean fish.
Apparently the Mediterranean represents 1 per cent of the world‘s sea, but about 9 per cent of marine biodiversity. This makes it vulnerable to exploitation, but also a wonderful source of seafood.
Some facts are available – tuna should be line-caught only, stocks of hake are dropping dramatically. But sardines are sustainable, which is good news for me as it‘s one of my favourite fish. We don‘t buy red mullet any more because they look too small to be sustainable.
Mussels and oysters from Bouzigues – again less than 40 km from here – are sustainable, so we can carry on eating those without guilty feelings.
I‘m uncertain about mackerel – they seem to be plentiful and quite big … and I like them. What about the cuttlefish I bought today? And I like squid too.
I‘ll keep trying to find out what is sustainable and what we shouldn‘t be eating.
Kate‘s post seems to have set off quite a stream of arguments for and against food choices, especially vegetarianism. Like Kate, I don‘t want to be a vegetarian. I think everyone has to make their own choices about their diet and the environment. Most of the food I eat comes from within about 100 km of Gabian, in summer, spring and autumn most of the vegetables we eat are organic and grown in our garden, we eat free-range eggs and poultry, mostly local cheeses and fish from local boats. Of course I have my guilty pleasures – I like Italian ground coffee, which must add to the food miles or kilometres of my diet, and the occasional steak. Maybe I‘ll just have to accept that perfection is unattainable!