Fish issues

Carbon footprint

There are a number of misunderstandings about the impact of farmed and wild caught fish on the environment. After all, is organic or locally produced fish always the most sustainable option? What is the most sustainable transportation method for fish? And is frozen fish really better for the environment than fresh fish?

Organic or local

It is a logical thought for many Dutch consumers: the fish I buy comes from our own North Sea, so it must be sustainable! Unfortunately, this is not always the case. 60-80% of the sustainability is determined by the farming or catch method, making it the most environmentally damaging factor. For one kilo of sole, for example, the harmful beam trawl requires an average of 4 litres of diesel. Therefore, biological or locally caught fish does not say that much about sustainability.

Transport method

Despite the fact that the way in which fish are farmed or caught is the most environmentally damaging factor, the method of transport must also be considered. It is well known that the use of container ships is by far the most efficient and CO2 -friendly way of transporting fish. Most fish on container ships is therefore deep-frozen.

Fresh fish, on the other hand, is usually transported by plane, making it the most harmful method of transport. Incidentally, ‘fresh’ fish from the supermarket can also be thawed, but it is not required to state this on the packaging.

VISwijzer and fuel consumption

Althoug the ratings methodology that the VISwijzer uses for wild catch does take fuel consumption into account, carbon footprint is not yet taken into account for aquaculture and transportation of fish products. Good Fish is currently looking into ways to incorporate these footprints into the VISwijzer. Additionally, we are determining whether producers that are improving their carbon footprint can be individually mentioned on the VISwijzer. However, due to the advisory function of Good Fish to large food service parties and restaurants, producers should not wait for this VISwijzer adaptatation and take action now.