What You Can Do
When you go shopping, remember that your choices have an influence on the global food system.
In terms fish and seafood products, there is plenty you can do…
Be curious! Discover alternative culinary avenues, and participate in your own small way to protecting aquatic resources.
Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask questions! A good fisher, fishmonger or conscientious restaurateur will be happy to discuss the subject with you.
Know your fish!
- Choose species that are not overfished and caught using low impact fishing techniques.
- Buy fish that is “in season” and at the “right size”, to ensure reproduction is allowed and that stocks may be kept at healthy levels.
- Choose short-lived species! Fish that live near the surface, like molluscs and small pelagic fish reach maturity and reproduce more quickly, helping stocks regenerate faster. Fish that live at greater depths grow very slowly and have a long–life expectancy, meaning they’re more vulnerable to overfishing and disturbances in the ecosystem.
- Most lesser-known species are thrown back in the water or sold at very low prices. These fish are often very tasty. Be curious and explore new tastes!
- Avoid farmed finfish and shrimps.
- Choose quality preserved fish which are prepared using artisanal methods to smoke, can or dry them.
Know your fishers and fishmongers!
Buy from local fishers whenever possible and you will…
- Sustain local economies.
- Have access to more information about the seafood you eat and how they are fished.
- Pollute less! Local fish means less transport and packaging, and so less pollution.
How can you tell that your fish is fresh?
- Smell: Fresh fish should have a slight scent of the sea and seaweed and should never smell unpleasant.
- Overall appearance: Fresh fish is shiny and moist, with a slightly viscous surface. It should be firm to the touch; when no longer fresh, the flesh becomes soft and tends to fall apart.
- Eyes: These should be clear, bright and shiny. Stay away from gray, cloudy, opaque eyes.
- Gills: Located at the base of the head, they should be pale red or pink, bright and moist, not sticky or discolored. Checking the gills is one of the easiest and most effective ways of confirming freshness.
- Scales: These should be firmly attached or completely removed.
- Flesh: This should be firm and springy to the touch. In fillets, it is hard to judge the consistency of the flesh. However, depending on the species, it should be a pearly white color, with pinkish shading towards the backbone.
- A fish that has been gutted should have a pale-colored abdominal cavity. If there are traces of blood remaining, they should be bright red, while the backbone should be firmly attached to the flesh.
- To keep fish fresh for longer, transport it in an insulated cooler bag. As soon as you get the fish home, carefully remove any guts, rinse it under running cold water then pat dry. Store the fish in the lower part of the refrigerator, wrapped in tinfoil, and use it within three days at most.