Good fish, bad fish

There’s a worldwide fish fight going on. There are huge levels of by-catch, over-fishing and practices that ravage the environment.

Chef Steve Logan, Hurricane's Skipper Conrad Smith and Chef Shaun Clouston

Chef Steve Logan, Hurricane’s Skipper Conrad Smith and Chef Shaun Clouston

The forecast for the health of our oceans is grim, even in New Zealand. Which is why we hope Kiwis will embrace the newly released Best Fish Guide and make eco-friendly choices when buying seafood.

With backing from several celebrity chefs, such as Annabel Langbein and Peta Mathias, and Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith, we hope our Best Fish Guide and forthcoming iPhone application will help keep our oceans fish-filled, through that all-powerful tool: buyer power.

Indeed, this celebrity bomb was truly in true force at the launch of our guide on Wednesday, as Martin Bosley, Grahame Thorne, Steve Logan and Shaun Clouston descended upon the super -swish Logan Brown to enjoy sustainably-caught fish.

Lauraine Jacobs New Zealand Listener food writer, was our BFG champion. MPs Gareth Hughes, Phil Twyford and Eugenie Sage provided the political power, while staff from DOC, the Seafood Industry Council and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries added industry clout.

It was a shame that the Governor-General pulled out at the last minute. But His Excellency did email through a statement of support for the Best Fish Guide, where he said:

“While we often talk of the “bounty of the sea,” it is not a limitless resource … The Best Fish Guide raises public awareness of this precious resource, the diversity of kai moana/seafood that is available and helps consumers to make better informed choices.”

That’s a mighty big thumbs up.

Shaun Clouston gave a live cooking demonstration using kingfish. Conrad stirred ingredients and made hungry faces. Throughout guests sampled bite-sized morsels of five-star food using sustainable fish. Whoever has bad words to say about kahawai hasn’t tried it roasted with masala, atop of buffalo yoghurt and naan bread.

Katrina Subedar, Marine Conservation Advocate, gave the skinny on the science and motivations behind the best fish guide. She told guests why you should ask the guy at the New World fish counter, what species of tuna they’re selling. That way you can happily snap up the BFG-endorsed skipjack tuna and albacore, while avoiding the unsustainable southern bluefin and bigeye tuna.

The launch helped push our message in front of the media. As Lauraine Jacobs said, the guide is only the start. The real challenge now is to use the media, food writers and such, to get the public to actually use it. We need to create consumer demand for species like trevally. The public’s purchasing power will have a flow on effect in restaurants, supermarkets and fishmongers, and from there, we’ll start to change the way we fish.

If you’re stuck for ideas about what to do with paua, blue cod and the like, have a look at our best fish guide website. There are 12 recipes by 12 top New Zealand chefs. They’re easy and delicious. Go on. Have a bite.

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