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Snapper slips in latest Forest & Bird Fish Guide

3 November 2009 – Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Snapper slips in latest Forest & Bird Best Fish Guide

Snapper, scallops, skate, bluenose and bigeye and yellowfin tuna have slipped in the rankings in Forest & Bird’s latest Best Fish Guide launched today. They are all among the worst choices for seafood consumers.

The wallet guide – which is updated every two years – lists the most ecologically sustainable seafood to buy at shops or choose from takeaway or restaurant menus.

“Forest & Bird hopes seafood consumers will turn to the new Best Fish Guide even more often to help them make better choices,” Forest & Bird Marine Conservation Advocate Kirstie Knowles says. “Consumers have huge power to encourage our fisheries to become more responsible.”

The fourth Best Fish Guide will be launched at a Wellington Burger Wisconsin takeaway to celebrate Burger Wisconsin’s use of the guide to change the type of fish in its burgers.

In July Burger Wisconsin stopped buying deepwater dory (or oreo), which is one of the worst choices in the Best Fish Guide. Burger Wisconsin’s fish burgers now have tarakihi, which is a more sustainably fished species.

Orange roughy remains on the bottom of the Best Fish Guide, after years of over-fishing of the slow-growing, deepwater fish, which can live up to 130 years. It has been joined by porbeagle shark – a vulnerable shark species that is internationally recognised as threatened and is targeted for its fins. “Forest & Bird is seriously concerned about porbeagle sharks and our other shark species and the ongoing support of shark finning in New Zealand waters,” Kirstie Knowles says.

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At the top of the guide are anchovies, pilchards and sprats. Other good choices are skipjack tuna, garfish, cockles and kina.

Some fish have improved their rankings since the last Best Fish Guide appeared, including blue cod, trevally, packhorse lobster and red gurnard – which are all among the better seafood choices.

Hoki has also improved its ranking, though it is still in the red zone, and should be avoided. Forest & Bird is concerned about the hundreds of NZ fur seals, albatrosses, petrels and globally threatened basking sharks caught each year in the hoki fishery. “Hoki is caught by bottom trawling, which is underwater vandalism,” Kirstie Knowles says. “We also think the fishery’s management should be improved.”

The wallet guide is backed up by a 150-page report that details the reasons for each fish species’ ranking. It assesses each species’
• Status and the sustainability of catch
• Bycatch of protected species, such as seabirds, Hector’s dolphins and NZ sea lions
• Fishing method and impact
• Fish biology and vulnerability to overfishing
• Fisheries management

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