WWF teaches sustainable fishing (and chefs change menus)

WWF teaches sustainable fishing (and chefs change menus)

An initiative of the WWF, #ioCambioMenu, has focused the attention of chefs on fish species at risk of extinction and whose fishing ruins the ecosystem.

The environmental emergency now echoes all over the world, thanks to the communication effort made by individuals and organizations that have denounced, openly, the situation in which the Earth finds itself. A situation that seriously endangers nature understood as plants and animals, but also the human being itself: making, and being, a change is possible, but one must take a stand and change one’s habits.sustainable fishing (and conscious spending) are keyIn the website dedicated to sustainable fishing , WWF explains in detail how to orient fish consumption in a more responsible direction, from shopping to recipes, to understand how to change the diet to ensure the least possible impact on the marine environment. In particular, the WWF’s valuable advice is to consume adult fish, coming from the nearest sea , and having a certified MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) or organic origin.. But it also offers concrete indications: the site offers a legend of colors, blue, green, yellow, red, to catalog fish species on the basis of the impact that industrial fishing has on individual species and on the environment. A real instruction booklet with which to shop, easy to understand and to use. The fish marked in red , in particular, are:


  1. Eel : unfortunately the eel is one of the most endangered fish, it is now classified as critically endangered. Since it is fished with different techniques and equipment, from traps, to bottom trawls, to hooks, but there is no sustainable form of farming, there are no signs of recovery. It is really necessary to avoid the consumption of eel, removing it from any shopping list or menu, to be able to stem the damage done so far and increase the population.
  2. Grouper : the grouper is a fish particularly vulnerable to the stress of fishing, the methods used cause a lot of damage to the seabed and to the habitats of this species. In addition, most of the stocks are over-exploited, with a consequent decrease in the presence of this fish in the Mediterranean. It is not yet among the endangered species, but the situation is on a razor’s edge. 
  3. Sea bream : especially in the Mediterranean Sea, the impact of fishing on sea bream is considerable, as it is caught young, before it can reproduce. In addition, sea bream fishing in the Mediterranean has no regulation so it is difficult to control the methods. Sea bream aquaculture also needs to be controlled, as it is generally done in cages with high stocking densities, which carry diseases, against which antibiotics and chemical drugs are used.
  4. Monkfish : as stated on the WWF website, ” it is clear that today’s fishing effort can easily lead to commercial collapse “. Since there are no regulations in the fishing of this species, it is complex to manage the processes in a virtuous way.
  5. Atlantic and Pacific redfish: it is a very slow growing fish, therefore it suffers negatively from fishing, which also has a strong impact on corals and other fish at risk of extinction. However, there are scorpion fish with MSC certifications.
  6. Sea bass (or sea bass) : overfishing in recent years has made the reproduction of this species impossible. In theory, sea bass fishing is regulated by European Union regulations, but quotas have not been established, making the fishing numbers still too high compared to what would be sustainable.  
  7. Red mullet : its presence in the Mediterranean is considered over-exploited, also due to the lack of regulation. In fact, fishing for red mullet is not subject to management plans that establish maximum catch limits.
  8. Blue shark : fully included in the red list of endangered species. In particular, the blue shark suffers from accidental capture and a lack of sustainable farming practices.

The #IoCambioMenu initiative

A few weeks ago the WWF also launched the appeal via social media: #iocambiomenu , because now communication is everything, and the message is stronger the more it reaches.removing endangered species from the tables is a fundamental choiceThe world of catering as well as that of gourmets have been faced with a clear appeal: there are animal species, mostly fish, that cannot be fished in a sustainable way. In particular, the Italian situation is delicate because restaurant operators are faced with a complex dilemma: the Mediterranean is one of the most over-exploited seas in the world .(about 78% of its fish stocks are), buying local means going to further hit an already difficult situation, while to get supplies in less exploited seas one would have to buy fish that comes from afar, setting aside the signature cuisine. This is the reflection from which Lisa Casali started, who launched a challenge to the Italian chefs together with the WWF: #iocambiomenu. Specifically, in Italy there are five fish species at concrete risk of extinction : eel, monkfish, brown grouper, swordfish, blue shark. So why not eliminate them, taking them off the paper, thus ensuring a good solution to the problem? Instead of these five types of fish, use something else, find solutions, give life to something new.

The experience of chef Stefano Sforza

This appeal was immediately grasped by chef Stefano Sforza , of the Opera restaurant in Turin , supported and encouraged by the property of Antonio Cometto. The young chef removed from his menu the dishes that had eel and monkfish among the ingredients, but also foie gras , replaced by different ingredients including marrow, which gives the same strength of flavor with a different environmental cost. and production.an ethical turning point that stimulates the search for a replacement  An ethical turning point, that of chef Sforza, supported as follows: “ As a chef I am not worried about the absence of certain products on my menu. On the contrary, I discovered that their elimination gave way to a stimulating search to replace them. […] The principle that is followed when deciding not to use a raw material anymore is that of replacing it, not a radical change of a dish. For example, an excellent variant of the monkfish is that of the zander, a delicate and versatile freshwater fish “.

Among the changes taking place at the Opera restaurant, it is also necessary to remember the elimination of granulated sugar , replaced with glucose or cane sugar, unrefined ingredients and therefore do not undergo the same intensive treatments as white sugar. A dutiful attention to the natural world, according to chef Stefano Sforza, which will make man more aware, conscientious, respectful and at the same time improve the living conditions of the global ecosystem. Antonio Cometto states that ” It is only a starting point, we are aware of it, but it is indeed a beginning and we hope that many other restaurateurs, chefs, and above all customers, will embrace the cause and opt for a more careful consumption, rather than thinking that they are problems far from them“.

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