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Confusion at the fish counter

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23.10.2019

Jenny Weitzman, Dalhousie University

It now seems absurd that anyone once believed the ocean was inexhaustable: fish stocks are in dismal shape and scientists say overfishing is a global problem with potentially irreversible consequences to ecosystems and human livelihoods.

Sustainability has become a key driver of seafood consumer choices, according to a 2018 survey by Globescan on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council.

But no longer is a visit to the local fish-and-chips restaurant a simple choice between cod and halibut. Consumers must also weigh geography, catch method and species in their food order. When did eating fish and chips get so complicated?

As a researcher who studies sustainable seafood, I also ask: “Which fish should I be eating?”

Taste aside, there are numerous health benefits to eating seafood, both for your brain and body.

Still, many Canadians remain confused or frustrated by varying health claims or unclear messages. They’re concerned about mercury, microplastics and genetically modified foods. (A Health Canada assessment concluded that the AquAdvantage GMO salmon is safe for consumption.)

It’s not surprising that many consumers are confused. The seafood industry is diverse and very different than any other meat industry in Canada.

For the most part, Canadians only eat one species of chicken, cow and pig. But an average grocery store sells a myriad of different species of fish and shellfish. Seafood is also a truly global commodity.

While most chicken and beef in North........

© The Guardian