How Sustainable is the Fish on Your Plate?
Fish4Tomorrow is paving the way for consumers to end overfishing. We love the idea… Will you?
Every dish is the result of a process, and whether it’s farm to fork or sea to table, we believe in knowing that the ingredients we use are sustainably and humanely sourced.
One of the NGOs helping us to achieve that is Fish4Tomorrow (F4T), which started out as a coalition between Greenhouse Malta, Nature Trust, Sharklab, Din l-Art Ħelwa and Get Up, Stand Up! in 2010.
The coalition’s original plan was to target the bluefin tuna crisis in Malta’s seas and in the rest of the Mediterranean, but it quickly expanded to the problem of overfishing as a whole.
“Overfishing,” as JD Farrugia - who has been in the NGO since its early stages and is currently its director – explains, “is a situation where you’re fishing a type of fish to the point where you’re not giving it time to recover.”
Currently, 90% of fish stocks in the Med are overfished and, if we don’t do something about it soon, the consequences could be quite dire. Indeed, from effecting marine biodiversity to wreaking havoc on the food chain, the results of it would be catastrophic for the environment and our lives.
But F4T is doing a lot of ground work to help the cause here in Malta, including being in constant dialogue with policymakers, influencing policies at the highest levels, and informing consumers on how their choices are affecting the seas.
One ingenious way of achieving the latter was their Quick Fish Guide. Published for the first time in 2015 – and currently in the process of being updated with the latest stats – the pocket-sized pamphlet includes information and ratings on the 45 different types of fish eaten in Malta.
The three-point scale for its ratings is as follows: Recommended (under which the Atlantic Mackerel, locally-caught squid, and dorado (lampuki) fall), Eat with Caution (like the little tunny, octopus and the common pandora (aka paġella), which is often mentioned in menus as red snapper), and Avoid (which includes swordfish and bluefin tuna).
This guide, which can be downloaded from the F4T website for free, puts more power in the hands of the consumer by giving you easily-accessible and scientifically-based information to help you make an informed decision. After all, one of the most powerful statements we can make as consumers is by putting our money where our mouth is.
As an Academy, however, we are also aware of this and, with the help of F4T, we ensure that all the fish and seafood we use is sustainably sourced. As part of our ethos, we also share this knowledge, collected by experts for F4T and passed on to us, through our classes.
In reality, the changes we, as end-consumers, need to make to avoid the repercussions of overfishing aren’t major, but the results of making the right choices could be. Which is why we invite you to visit F4T’s website and help us save our seas and the creatures that live in it.