Fish and seafood - blue food from the water - at the International Green Week
In 2021, we Germans ate an average of around 13.5 kilograms of fish and seafood per capita. We are thus far below the global average of 20.4 kilograms. Dr. Matthias Keller, from FIZ e. V. in Hamburg, explains why it makes sense to eat more fish and seafood: "Fish, as well as crustaceans and mollusks such as shrimp and mussels, fit in with the current nutritional trends of health and sustainability. And they come in a variety that offers something tasty for everyone. And many fish and crustacean as well as mollusk species, have a very favorable 'climate passport'!"
Cue sustainability: why is seafood sustainable? - You often read and hear that the oceans are overfished.
"That the seas are overfished is something you often read, but even when repeated regularly, it doesn't hit the nail on the head! Because only fish stocks can be overexploited. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) informs in its current report that in 2019, 57.3% of the world's fish stocks will be exploited to the maximum, i.e. sustainably. The phrase "maximally utilized" is to be understood as "optimal utilization", as binding sustainability criteria are applied for the assessment. According to these criteria, 35.4% of marine fish stocks are in the red zone. That is, they are collapsed, overexploited, or recovering, and are thus currently not sustainably exploited. 7.2% of fish stocks still have development potential, i.e. they are "underutilized". It is important to note in this context that 82.5% of global landings of FAO-monitored stocks in 2019 are of sustainably exploited fish stocks."
However, sustainability also includes the fact that many aquatic species have a favorable carbon footprint and provide high quality nutrients. The best example of this is mussels. But the growth of wild fish is also not at the expense of nature, so to speak, but moves in harmony with it.
Wild fish are one thing Fish from aquacultures are another - how important are they for consumers in Germany?
"Fish, as well as crustaceans and mollusks from aquacultures, i.e. from facilities in the sea, on land or in ponds and lakes, are playing an increasingly important role in human nutrition. Globally, the share from aquacultures is already over half of consumption. In Germany, the share is still significantly lower. Only about one third of the fish consumed in Germany comes from aquacultures. This is due to the fact that traditionally more marine fish such as Alaska pollock, tuna and herring end up on German plates that are not available from aquacultures. It's quite different from salmon, most of which comes from aquacultures in Norway, Iceland or Scotland."
On many packages in the supermarket are quality seals to help us buy good fish. There are also many guides and buying guides. What do you have to say about them?
"We have not yet found a guidebook that we can really recommend. Many have scientific flaws or evaluate the scientific data according to criteria that are not comprehensible. We always recommend using the neutral information services such as www.fischbestaende-online.de or www.aquakulturinfo.de for sustainable fish purchasing."
You can get more recommendations for sustainable fish purchasing and recommendations for uncomplicated preparation from January 20 to 29, 2023 at the International Green Week at the stand of the Fish Information Center in Hall 22 a.