Sustainable Canned Seafood (Stock-up Sustainably!)

Trending online are the following hashtags: #panicbuying #lockdown #stayathome #covid19.

Focusing on our safety, surviving this together and as we find our new normal in this circumstance, let us take a moment to discuss what is still important… the food we eat to get us through this tough time.

Whilst we try our best to keep healthy; mind, body and soul, we cannot deny that one of the most reliable source of food comes in a can. Preserved with a shelf life of years for some, the unknown calls for us to stock up on canned food. Canned food is notorious for lack of flavour and well, we don’t really know where they come from, cleanliness, health benefits, safety?

Or do we?

I may not be able to help you figure out all the types of canned food but would like to share more about canned seafood. Sustainably caught, safe and delicious if you get your hands on the right one. Which is the right one? An option is one with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue fish label.

MSC Blue Fish Label

It is not just about opting for sustainably caught seafood, fisheries under the MSC follow strict standards and thus your fish in a can is traceable, from the ocean it was caught in, to the company that processes and packs them. With such strict standards, some of the finest canned seafood are those with the blue fish label.

Sustainably caught seafood means that the method used to catch the fish does not contribute to overfishing, in fact, for some areas, depleting fish population has since recovered following the MSC Fisheries guideline.

When we were in Maldives, I was astonished at the number of Skipjack Tuna found all around the islands, they were everywhere! Fresh, Dried, Canned, you name it, you will find it. There is a delicious, healthy and cheap breakfast option you can get all over Maldives called Mas Huni. Tuna, onions, grated coconut and chilli served with Chapati bread. We ate that every day, without guilt, because Skipjacks were sustainably caught with rod and line, and the population is abundant around the seas of Maldives.

Maldives is one of the best examples of how sustainable fisheries benefit the Ocean, Fish, Fishermen and Consumers.

Quality of seafood is assured when the MSC blue fish label is on it, now what about the taste of canned seafood? Do not take it from me, take it from some of the most recognised chefs in the world. Gordan Ramsay has a brilliant spiced canned Tuna Fishcakes recipe on YouTube (Watch it here!) , the late Anthony Bourdain grew to love canned seafood from Espinaler (not MSC certified but sustainable) and also tried canned seafood in Lisbon, where the finest canned fish can be found. Jamie Oliver is one chef who is a strong supporter of sustainably caught canned seafood, sharing many recipes of how to cook with them online.

“Fishing often gets a bad reputation, but we’re spoilt for choice in the supermarket when it comes to watchfully sourced, good-quality canned fish. Take a little time to look for the Marine Stewardship Council mark (or similar). This indicates fish have been collected in a responsible manner, taking into account sustainability of stocks and the type of fishing method used.”

Jamie Oliver

Perhaps you were not aware of sustainably caught canned seafood before this and maybe, you may already have them in your pantry. Whilst stocking up for the week, I was happy to find a few on the shelves of many supermarkets around Kuala Lumpur and managed to take some photos to share. Yes, some does come with a price, but I like the comfort of knowing that in my choice, I am making a difference and I know the source and quality of my seafood.

We can all still continue to be responsible with our choices as we stock up, for our oceans and our families. If there are any MSC certified canned seafood in your area, give it try! Share with us your exciting recipes and tell us what you think of it!

In the meantime, stay safe and if you would like some music to jam to in the kitchen, check out the Marine Stewardship Council’s playlist on Spotify, we have been listening and singing along to their What a Tuna selection on the playlist!

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