How to help fish friends, depends probably on what you eat. But even if you do eat fish, you can still eat more sustainable fish. Those of us who don’t eat fish, found it perplexing as to what all the issues were with the EU negotiations, with probably millions asking ‘why if people just ate less fish?’
Our oceans are already polluted and having too much fish taken, which leaves less for native wildlife. Yes, it creates jobs but is a tiny fraction of our economy. What’s more concerning is that with the political talk, we may soon again have the issue where millions of fish are caught, then thrown back in the water to ‘meet quotas’. If you are going to fish a creature from the sea, then eat it.
It’s up to you, what you eat. But don’t think you need fish for omega acids, because you don’t. That’s science around 200 years out of date. We can get fatty acids from the same place fish do: algae – or from nuts and seeds. If you eat fish, choose brands that avoid by-catch (catching and killing dolphins and sea turtles in nets). Many people boycott Canadian seafood, until they stop the annual baby seal cull. And if you fish yourself, take your fishing gear with you. See tips to be a greener boater. Also see the post on how to show compassion to crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, scampi: small lobsters and octopuses. Also see the post on plant-based omega 3 supplements.
You can also help cleaning up ghost fishing gear, by purchasing items made from recycled fishing nets. But if you are wearing clothing or swimwear, wash in a microfiber catch bag to stop microplastics returning to the sea. There’s no point collecting the plastic waste, if it goes back again from your washing machine.
Where To Buy ‘Vegan’ Fish
These are not real fish, so don’t give them to cats! Some also contain pet-toxic ingredients like spices. Obviously there is no point not eating fish, and then dumping plastic in the oceans. Some of these do have plastic packaging at present, so recycle it at supermarket bag recycling bins (they take anything, bar clingfilm, as a rule). Or make homemade vegan sushi & smoked salmon.
Bonsan Vegan Tuna is made from ocean-friendly tofu tuna! Made from kombucha cultured tofu, it’s ideal to add to salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and more. No fishy business here.
Moving Mountains Plant-Based Fish Fingers have recently been launched by a company that sells the most realistic tasting burgers and sausages, so now they’ve turned to fish. Made with plant protein, they have a flaky texture, wrapped in crunchy golden breadcrumbs. Serve with chips and peas, in a sandwich or dumped in ketchup. You can recycle the packaging.
- Look in stores for GoodCatch foods. This company makes plant-based tuna, fish cakes, crab cakes and fish burgers.
- Badger’s Tunah Mayo is fresh and made with sweet onion, vegan mayo & seaweed. They also make a good vegan egg mayo with pasta, chickpeas, mayo and lemon juice, herbs and spices.
- England has many vegan fish and chip shops that use alternatives like banana blossom, salsify (a vegetabe), oyster mushrooms, jackfruit and seaweed.
Pet Fish Welfare
Finally, don’t buy pet fish from shops. Most are taken from tropical homes and live bored unhappy lives. If you have them, use the biggest tank possible with lots of interest and hiding places, and get a good book on fish welfare. If not possible, donate them to a hotel or restaurant with a bigger tank (place in a bag or container to get them used to the new water temperature over time as fish manuals suggest, or they will die of shock). There are charities that re-home fish (including in ponds) but they are often full. PDSA has good info on fish care (how to change water safely and vets that care about fish). See how to build a garden pond, for humane tips on protecting fish from herons.
The popularity of ‘fake feng shui’ has led to many fish being made to live miserable lives in tanks, with silly authors suggesting you should have certain colours and numbers. Genuine feng shui consultant Kartar Diamond writes that it’s all baloney. You can only have feng shui when you know compass directions and birth dates and years, and sometimes you should not have water features. And if you do, then a fountain with running water is as good.