Crow-eaters – what an incredible array of local seafood you have in this state !

From my newish-to-Adelaide perspective – it seems like this fabulous produce is  a little under underappreciated. We need to ditch the feathers in exchange for fins.

After all, you have Storm Boy at the Coorong, Tunarama at Port Lincoln and the most wildly-named Coffin Bay oysters all at your disposal. Deep, cold, unpolluted waters bring in world-class tuna, sardines and crustaceans. I think in recent years Australia’s National Dish has been announced as salt-n-pepper squid, which arguably South Australia owns. Now I’m not suggesting you take up corny tourism titles like “Australian’s Seafood Capital City” but it’s a world-class resource to both steward and appreciate.

Historically, the earliest human settlements in coastal areas were invariably based on clusters of rich sea life. Seafood is a major source of protein in the world – providing around 15% of human population requirements. There are so many healthy reasons to eat more seafood and I won’t go into detail here – but some include;

* Fish contains high levels of cholesterol-lowering Omega-3’s – so a high fish consumption diet provides healthy heart outcomes

* Oily fish consumption has been linked to healthy brain functions and lower dementia rates and may alleviate ADHD symptoms

* Seafood contains high levels of anti-oxidant minerals like zinc and selenium & Vitamin A

The big HOWEVER is – our fisheries are under great threat. 

The Sustainable Seafood (Australia) organization states 80% of the world’s fish stocks are either overexploited or exhausted. Poor management, overfishing, by-catch (where other species like dolphins, birds, turtles and coral are caught up in fishing gear and then discarded) have profoundly depleted this important food source. Several models point to complete depletion of wild stocks in only a few decades time.

Fortunately for us here at least, sustainable seafood can be easily sourced and we are one of very few fishery areas that are able to be classified as sustainable globally. Another positive is that consumer demand for sustainable seafood is growing rapidly.

Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide helps you take the first steps on the journey of discovering sustainable seafood. So wish I had’ve come up with this title for the blog  – Good Fish Bad Fish (or some other Suess-like phrase). Anyway, look them up – they write an excellent column on sustainable seafood.

In summary this is what to look for. In Part 2 I’ll talk about specifics for you to look out for…….

Eat lower, faster, smaller

This means eat smaller fish. They are usually faster breeding and thus able to bounce back more easily from over-fishing pressures. Garfish, sardines, whiting, prawns – rather than lobsters, snapper and tuna.

And the corollary – don’t eat larger fish with long lives

You wouldn’t eat a great-grandmother cow if you knew she was one, would you? Save the big old flathead, the large shark (“flake”) and the ancient sting rays (otherwise known as “skate”) – keep the aged and wise in the sea. Remember who was the wise teacher from Finding Nemo? Mr. Ray.

Ask where, who, how, etc

Many fish are fraudulently intentionally mis-named. I could write for days about this issue. With 1/3 of our spend going on purchasing fish species that are incorrectly and/or deliberately mis-identified, that’s an almost $1 billion annual fraud – we are losing out on knowing what we are eating, and thus seafood stocks can’t be correctly managed.

When shopping, ask about origin, fishing technique or aquaculture method.

Ask suppliers to identify species by its Standardised Fish Name.

Be Informed

Stop by the seafood counter more often. You can help save fish obviously by not eating fish at all, but you can make a big difference by actively engaging in educating yourself and others.

How often do you eat seafood? What kind? Would love your feedback.