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Which fish is the greener choice for Christmas Eve dinner?

Which fish is the greener choice for Christmas Eve dinner?

Image source: © canva
Anna RusakAnna Rusak,20.12.2023 07:00

Are you thinking about which fish to buy for Christmas Eve? WWF can help you choose the most eco-friendly option. Have you ever wondered why salmon might not be the best choice? And what's wrong with so-called "Greek-style" fish?

Many of us believe that fish should be served on Christmas Eve. However, this may not be the case for vegans and vegetarians. For those who fall into this category, we suggest reading a guide on politely declining your grandmother's offer of fish at the Christmas Day table, as she may claim that fish is not meat.

Although there is a growing debate on purchasing carp without contributing to animal suffering, few of us know which types of fish we can buy with a clear conscience on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, the WWF has come to our aid by providing some helpful guidance.

Which Christmas dish is most ocean-friendly?

If you're unsure about which type of fish to serve for Christmas, the answer is actually quite simple: choose varieties that are not endangered or at risk of becoming extinct. If you believe that there are no such fish on Christmas tables, you are mistaken.

"More than 90% of all the world's fish stocks are overfished or fished at the highest possible level. Their populations are being exploited at or even beyond the limit of so-called safe levels for their stability and natural recovery," says the WWF website.

What kind of fish to buy for the "Greek-style" fish?

Did you know that Atlantic cod, a popular Christmas fish often served as Greek-style fish, is actually an endangered species? According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it has been listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. In fact, some scientists are already recommending the closure of its fishery in certain areas.

"According to the Red List of Threatened Species of the so-called Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), the species is at risk of extinction in our sea," reads the WWF website.

It's important to note that cod fishing is prohibited in the Baltic Sea. Therefore, it's highly unlikely that you'll find Polish sea cod. If you're looking for a substitute for Atlantic cod, WWF recommends black cod, which has a healthy population.

What fish to buy for Christmas? Definitely not salmon

Salmon is a popular fish on the Christmas table, but it's also on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Not only is the wild salmon at risk of extinction, but the farmed salmon is also an unethical choice due to the methods used in farming. It is essential to understand the environmental impact of salmon farming before deciding to consume it. Therefore, replacing salmon with other fish, such as rainbow trout, is recommended.

"These fish are often housed in open cages, at high densities, and this promotes infections that are even preventively treated with antibiotics[...] Unfortunately, farmed food, i.e. fish meal and oil, is often not sustainably sourced and contributes to the overexploitation of wild-caught fish," says WWF

Fish for Christmas? Only organic

It's important to keep in mind that certain types of fish, such as bluefin tuna and carp, are not ecologically responsible choices for Christmas. Carp, specifically, can be problematic due to how it's traditionally purchased during the holiday season. However, there are ways to responsibly source carp, which you can read about in our guide on the matter.

It may seem trivial, but the health of our oceans and seas is significantly impacted by our consumption habits, especially during the holiday season. To ensure that we're making ethical choices, purchasing fish from certified, verified sources is crucial.

If you've decided to forego fish altogether this year, rest assured that you can still enjoy delicious flavours. Check out our vegan Christmas Eve recipes for ideas on preparing vegan fish alternatives.

Source: WWF

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