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Sustainable prawns, at a price


16/04/12

Rachel Lebihan is a full-time journalist and editor at The Australian Financial Review who also claims to be "a bit of a food junkie". She is the author of a blog called The Food Sage, is committed to spreading sustainability issues and fully embraces the Slow Fish campaign.

 

I'm a prawn junkie. I love those little schoolies salt and spice rubbed and deep-fried to crispy perfection. Or king prawns skewered lengthwise, barbecued in their full body armour, and peeled to reveal plump, pink, almost steamed, flesh. Banana prawns dressed in Panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried and dipped in a chilli-kicked mango mayonnaise make me weak at the knees. I save prawn shells to make stock for tom yam goong (sour & spicy prawn soup) - my favourite Thai dish. But a generous handful of prawns cooked in a thick, rich, Indian butter curry is by far my guiltiest pleasure. Ah, yes, I love a good prawn.

 

So my sustainable seafood push last year left me in a bit of a quandary. After sorting through the quagmire of misleading and contradictory information on sustainable sources, I eventually figured out the fish bit. I decided i would mostly eat little fish, those lower down the food chain that are fast growing and breeding and less likely to be over-fished. But what about prawns?

 

The Australian Marine Conservation Society tells consumers to "think twice" about eating wild caught banana, tiger and king prawns and aquaculture species. On its website, the GoodFishBadFish team relays the ACMS recommendation that haul caught school and bay prawns from NSW are a good choice, but definitely say no to imported prawns. In my confusion i didn't eat prawns for a while. But once a prawn junkie, always a prawn junkie and they've gradually found their way back onto the weekly menu.

 

Then I heard about Spencer Gulf king prawns, which was the world's first king prawn fishery to receive certification for sustainability from the not-for-profit Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) last June. I thought all my ‘throw a shrimp on the barbie' Christmases had come at once.

 

Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find MSC-labelled prawns. There's good reason for that.

 

Read the full article on the Food Sage Blog

 



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