Sustainable fish fingers: conservationists say cheaper is more sustainable

©iStock/JoeGough

The Marine Conservation Society has rated the most sustainable fish fingers with their Good Fish Finger Guide, and surprisingly, the most sustainable options are the cheapest.

The guide makes recommendations based on how sustainable fish fingers are, determined by where and how the fish is caught and farmed. The study found that 85% of the fish in 48 supermarket own-brand and branded fingers came from sustainable sources.

The background to the Marine Conservation Society

The Marine Conservation Society defines itself as ‘a leading UK charity working to make sustainable seafood the only choice for consumers in the UK.’  The Marine Conservation Society said: ‘We are leading the way on changing habits and our Good Fish Finger Guide 2018 reveals which supermarkets are selling fish fingers you can be confident in buying and which brands you should think about leaving in the freezer.’

Many species of fish, including the Atlantic Cod, are under threat due to unsustainable habits. According to the Marine Conservation Society:

  • “Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles;
  • Farmed marine fin fish production in Scotland is estimated to increase by 30% between 2014-2020; and
  • 70% of the oxygen in the air we breathe comes from the ocean.”

The most sustainable fish fingers

The study rated the top fifteen UK sustainable fingers as:

  • Asda smart price fish fingers
  • Asda omega-3 fish fingers
  • Co-op omega-3 fish fingers
  • Iceland breaded fish fingers
  • Marks & Spencer gluten free cod fish fingers
  • Morrisons omega-3 fish fingers
  • Morrisons savers fish fingers
  • Sainsbury’s cod fillet fish fingers
  • Sainsbury’s “deliciously free from” cod fish fingers
  • Sainsbury’s basic fish fingers
  • Sainsbury’s omega-3 pollock fish fingers
  • Tesco omega-3 fish fingers
  • Waitrose essential cod fish fingers
  • Waitrose 6 essential chunky cod fillet fish fingers in breadcrumbs
  • Young’s omega-3 fish fingers

Is there a need for better labelling?

The study pointed also pointed out: ‘Unlike unprocessed seafood (fish that isn’t canned, mixed or breaded), there is no legal requirement for retailers and brands to put details of seafood origins on pack for processed seafood. However, some retailers including Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury’s included detailed information of seafood origins on pack across most of their fish fingers.’

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