25 February 2010

Can eat or not? The Singapore Seafood Guide to sustainable seafood choices

Singapore is one of the biggest seafood consumers in Asia-Pacific. We eat an average of 100,000 tonnes of seafood each year. So Singaporeans can make a difference in sustainable use of marine resources through the choices that we make.
Would Singaporeans stop or eat less seafood? If they knew the seafood was unsustainably harvested? In an opinion poll commissioned by WWF, 80% of those Singaporeans asked said YES!

To help Singaporeans learn more, WWF Singapore has come up with the Singapore Seafood Guide so that everyone can make sustainable seafood choices.

The Guide uses a simple traffic light system to colour code seafood: GREEN – recommended eating choice; YELLOW – only eat occasionally; and RED – avoid eating. It also shows the fishing methods used to catch or rear the fishes.
The list has the names of the animals in English and Mandarin.

We should pay attention to where our seafood comes from. Because fisheries are managed differently in different parts of the world – some sustainably, some not. Also because the majority of seafood in Singapore is imported and most of it comes from a unique and fragile marine ecosystem on our doorstep known as the Coral Triangle.

"In the past most people have been unaware of where the fish on their plates comes from or whether the species they are eating are heavily overfished or caught in ways that are damaging to marine environment. Much of the seafood you see in Singapore may be from areas that have been overfished for years." says WWF.

Here's the GREEN list.
It includes the Sri Lankan Mud crab which is often used in Singapore's favourite Chilli crab dish. Phew!
Scylla as 'Chilli crab'
As well as China scallops and Malaysian squid. So it's fine to eat these favourite seafood dishes.

Here's the ORANGE list.
Creatures listed include: Singapore sea bass and Singapore four finger threadfin (from aquaculture ... hmm, would be interesting to know why our aquaculture processes for these fishes are not considered fully sustainable), China abalone, Indonesian Mud crabs, Indonesian squid, Malaysian clams, Malaysian tuna.

The RED list is long, with two portions.

Besides obivious no-no's such as sharks, the list includes Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) from the South China Sea (which probably cover most those that end up in our markets?), Indonesian grey and tiger prawns, and wide range of groupers.

Do ask your supermarket, fishmonger and restaurant where the seafood comes from. You not only learn more about the source of your seafood, but you will also send the message that consumers care about sustainably harvested seafood.

Download the free pocket-sized Singapore Seafood Guide and keep it with you to refer to when you sit down to your next seafood meal.

Find out more at the WWF-Singapore launch of the Seafood Guide and screening of "The End of the Line" on 27 Feb (Sat).

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