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It’s bad news for haddock, but American lobster claws its way up the latest seafood ratings lists

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Takeaway favourite from North Sea and west of Scotland area no longer the best partner for chips

The latest seafood ratings on the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Good Fish Guide website have seen three haddock fisheries in the North Sea and West of Scotland area downgraded, due to a change in scientific advice, meaning it is no longer on the charity’s recommended green list of fish to eat.

Haddock is a popular choice with seafood consumers and a favourite at the chip shop. It’s one of the UK’s “Big 5” fish species along with cod, tuna, salmon and prawns.

Two North Sea haddock fisheries are now rated 4 (amber), and the other has dropped from being a good choice (rated 2) to one to eat only occasionally (rated 3).

Bernadette Clarke is the MCS Good Fish Guide Manager: “These ratings changes have come about because scientfic perception of the stock has changed. Compared to 2015, the stock numbers in 2016 were below the recommended level and at the point where action is now needed to increase the number of fish of breeding age.”

The Marine Conservation Society has updated its comprehensive set of advice on the website www.goodfishguide.org, and although fisheries for haddock are doing less well than in previous years, other seafood choices are looking more positive.

Nephrops, commonly known as scampi, from Farn Deeps fishery has been re-rated from a 5 (Fish to Avoid) to a 4, in recognition of improved management – and although it’s some way off being sustainable, it’s a step in the right direction. There were also improvements for scampi fisheries in the west of Scotland, Clyde and Jura catch areas.

The Guide includes new ratings from further afield. American lobster (Homarus americanus) caught on the Canadian side of the Atlantic and in the Northeast US (Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank fisheries) has become more common and clawed its way into UK supermarkets at Christmas. “Remember to choose fish from Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries when choosing American lobster (green rated 2),” says Bernadette Clarke, “These generally implement stronger management methods to protect the stocks, habitat and to avoid the bycatch of endangered species.”

Squid, often called calamari on the menu, has been experiencing mixed fortunes globally. Populations appear to be increasing in the North Sea, but the Argentine shortfin squid – the second biggest squid fishery in the world – has seen huge decreases in landings and 2016 prices increased by 30% compared to the end 2015. Although squid are a fast growing species and an important predator and prey species, they’re also very sensitive to environmental changes and these global swings in squid populations could be down to El Niño which this year has had a real impact on ocean temperatures. MCS says that, going forward, squid must be monitored and the level of fishing adapted appropriate to the population sizes in any specific year.

As a group, tuna are one of the UK’s five most popular fish to eat, and the UK is the second-largest importer of tuna in the world. The variety available makes choosing tuna complicated, and the level of detail given on the Good Fish Guide enables the consumer to make a sustainable choice.

Yellowfin from the Indian Ocean is a major source of tuna for the UK, mainly sold as fresh or chilled steaks. But the stock is overfished and not well managed. Red ratings remain for longline, purse seine and gill net fisheries. Even with commitments to recover the stock, levels are not expected to recover the fishery to sustainable levels within ten years.

However, it is good news for North Atlantic albacore. The longline and pelagic trawl fisheries for this stock have improved from a 4 to a 3 and a 3 to a 2 for troll and pole & line fisheries. New stock assessments have revealed the population has recovered to a healthy level after previously being overfished. South Atlantic albacore has also seen similar improvements.

Bigeye tuna in the East Pacific Ocean, on the other hand, has been downgraded from a 3 to a 4 for the purse seine and longline fisheries because the stock is now in an overfished state.

To get the complete picture when it comes to seafood ratings, visit www.goodfishguide.org, download the App on iphone or android, or pick up a printed pocket version from MCS.

MCS sustainable seafood work is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery says: “It is great to see a whole range of resources giving people the power to make their own choices on which seafood to eat. However you access it, the Good Fish Guide gives instant advice on what to eat and how to cook it, whether you’re shopping for the family in the supermarket or looking for a place to eat out. I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are able to support this initiative.”

For more information about the Marine Conservation Society visit www.mcsuk.org.

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue Expandable Tray!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue Expandable Tray as a prize!!!

The Bigblue expandable tray (176mm-287mm) has fittings and screws to attach action and compact cameras. The base and handles are made from high grade aluminium with the handles having a neoprene grip. The package also includes clamps and adaptors for 1” ball and YS light fittings.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Handicapped Scuba Association South Africa has announced plans to host their 6th Annual fundraising event “HSASA 50hr Dive–A-Thon 2021” this year. But on what dates will the event take place?

Is it:

  • A) 15th – 17th October
  • B) 22nd – 24th October
  • C) 29th – 31st October

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue Extendable Tray March 2021

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 14/04/2021. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Jim Elliott and Tinamarie Hernandez of Diveheart (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Jim Elliott, Founder and President of Diveheart, and Tinamarie Hernandez who is the organization’s Executive Director.

Diveheart is a US-based, nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which aims to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person.

In their own words:

We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we’re all equal.

Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

 

Find out more about Diveheart and their valuable work at www.diveheart.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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