How tinned fish became the trendy choice

When it comes to fresh ideas for dinner, you’ll be best off reaching for the tin opener. According to the new Good Fish Guide, a round-up of the most, and least, sustainable seafood compiled by Marine Conservation Society, tins are now one of the best ways to get the two portions of fish a week recommended by the NHS.

While brown crab and lobster need to come off our menus (with the exception of Marine Stewardship Council-certified Jersey lobster and Shetland crab), along with Scottish monkfish and all skate and ray, stocks of herring and sardines are improving, and sardines from the south and south-west coast are a particularly sustainable choice. According to Jack Clarke, sustainable seafood advocate: “Tinned fish, if caught or farmed sustainably, can make a great sustainable meal choice. It’s affordable, keeps for a long time and really delivers on flavour.”

Most tinned fish – with the notable exception of tuna – is small pelagic (shoaling) fish, sardines, mackerel, pilchards and anchovies, the kind that ocean campaigners would like to see us eating, rather than larger fish that is higher up the food chain. Tinned salmon is Pacific wild salmon, a Good Fish Guide best choice, unlike our native Atlantic wild salmon, which has critically low stocks, or farmed salmon which is beleaguered by welfare and sustainability issues.

Not just that, the oily fish that makes up the bulk of tinned seafood is packed with Omega-3s, a nutrient that’s key to our cell health, of which the UK has some of the lowest levels in the world.

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