Fish I’m not eating

Hubby and I went shopping yesterday to one of our favorite specialty shops — Rodman’s in Friendship Heights — and had a field day in its larger-than-usual canned fish section.

Bit by bit, we’re cutting out foods like beef and pork because they’re environmentally unsustainable and hard to incorporate in a reduced-calorie diet. (Plus, I have an concern about the suffering of intelligent animals.) A bit of fish is a convenient and delicious way to make meals a little easier, there are nights like tonight that I can’t do more than canned herring and baked potato (and a little light blogging.)

Canned fish has a decidedly down-market association, but we don’t care. Indeed, I avoid the most popular canned fish — tuna — because its fisheries are depleting. In fact, most fisheries are depleting. I’ve seen cod go from staple to rarity in my lifetime and salmon might be there, too. Farmed fish are often ecological disasters and use low-value fish to feed the more desired farmed varieties.

Rather than give up fish altogether, I try to pick the best options. That leaves herring, sardines and anchovies and I’m looking to try canned mackerel soon. When I want something fresh, I’ll eat squid and farmed mussels.

I don’t recall where I saw it, but this makes sense. By valuing low-status fish as human food, it promotes those fisheries and diverts the use of the fish from being used as animal feed, for which the impact would be much harder and the economic return to the fishers would be much less.