UPDATE - We have begun to review and update all of the GFBF species profiles with the help of Marine Scientist John Ford from Melbourne University. The aim is to present the recommendations of the various guides, certification schemes and government agencies in an easy and accessible manner. We will then discuss the reasons for any differences or disagreements. Sustainability is a subjective measure, so we want to equip you, the consumer, with the tools to make not just an informed choice, but one that reflects your own values. We’ll also be providing links to additional info for those that want to delve deeper.
Due to popular demand we are also introducing a new category, a list of ‘GoodFishBadFish Favourites’. These are species that have great sustainability records that we want to both eat and promote.. so get into them!
Since the launch of GFBF we’ve resisted putting up a list of ‘good fish’ and ‘bad fish’ on the website. This is because the issues surrounding sustainable seafood are not black and white.
We were afraid that putting up a list such as this would remove the incentive to look deeper into the isssues surrounding each species – how it is caught or farmed, who by, where, and how these practices affect surrounding environments. We have always encouraged site users to empower themselves by becoming informed consumers, rather then blindly following the advice of a group they know nothing about.
It’s very difficult to establish conclusively what species we should and shouldn’t be eating. The differing recommendations of the various conservation groups and certification bodies can seem to add to this confusion. However, it’s worth looking at them in a different light. The different guides serve different purposes and have different core values at the heart of their recommendations. It is the task of you as a consumer to find a group whose values align with your own. Not easy, I know. Sorry.
Everyone has different values, and this should hold for seafood sustainability as much as anything else. You’re reading this because you like to eat seafood, but what is an acceptable cost for that seafood? The government has an idea of what that an acceptable cost might be, which differs to that of conservation groups or sustainability accreditation schemes. But you can draw your own line. There are simple questions like: “Am I ok with the possible deaths of seals and birds in the fishery?” or “Do I accept that the government will step in if things get bad?”. These are the questions that we’ll be posing as we review and update the GFBF species profiles.
We are very lucky to live in a country with very high awareness and management standards around environmental sustainability, with fisheries being no exception. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect and we don’t have work to do, but there is an underlying standard of environmental responsibility in Australia that isn’t reflected everywhere around the world.
In the GFBF species profiles we examine why the different groups are disagreeing about sustainability, so you can make your own choice according to what you believe is important. This information will be communicated through simple questions and points to consider, giving you the tools with which to make and informed decision about the sustainability of the seafood you consume.
But if that’s too much (and don’t we have enough things to worry about), then just go with our three tips, and you can’t go half wrong:
Our simple advice:
Diversify your choice
Buy local because we have the best managed fisheries in the world.
Buy fresh for taste and health
Diversify your choice to try something new and spread the impacts of fishing
These species are those that we at GFBF feel we can promote without hesitation.. they are great sustainable options and their consumption should be encouraged. Some of these are lesser-known or under-utilised species that we want to promote, others are common favourites or sustainable stalwarts. This doesn’t mean that species not on this list should be avoided.. read the info provided on their species pages so that you can make an informed choice. The GFBF Favourites list will evolve and expand as we review and update all of the profiles on the site, so keep checking back for more. Happy eating!
Remember folks.. we at GFBF are not suggesting you avoid the species in this category. They may be pending review, in which case they have the potential to become future GFBF favourites! Or, they may have stocks with differing degrees of sustainability depending on location, management practices or fishing technique. With species classed as ‘The Rest…’ we recommend that you glance over the species profile and check out the info we’ve provided. There are still a great number of delicious sustainable species below!