New app reveals the most sustainable fish to eat

For the first time, some species have more than one ranking in the guide, depending on where and how they were caught.
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For the first time, some species have more than one ranking in the guide, depending on where and how they were caught.

Suffering fish species in New Zealand waters may get a boost from a new mobile app.

New Zealand Forest and Bird have created the 2017 Best Fish Guide as a mobile app, their newest consumer guide to sustainable seafood.

Built on independent research, the guide gives consumers an insight on how 87 different fish species are caught and their impact on the environment. 

Annabel Langbein is one of a list of chefs to create a recipe using the fish guide.
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Annabel Langbein is one of a list of chefs to create a recipe using the fish guide.

The guide follows a traffic light system, scaling the environmental impacts, and the level of sustainability of the catch, from best to worst. 

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Simon Gault has also made a contribution to the 2017 Best Fish Guide.
Ross Giblin

Simon Gault has also made a contribution to the 2017 Best Fish Guide.

Fresh water fish, like eel and whitebait, will also be included in the guide. 

Well known New Zealander Annabel Langbein is one of several chefs to create a recipe especially for the guide.

"I believe the entire culinary community can play an important role in safeguarding the future of the oceans," Langbein said. 

Helping people make "ocean-friendly" choices and sharing ideas about how to cook lesser-known species was part of that process, she said.

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Forest and Bird campaigns manager Kevin Hackwell said the population had been shocked by revelations of illegal and destructive practices this year. 

Less than one per cent of New Zealand's marine environment was protected by no-take reserves, Hackwell said. 

Earlier this year marine ecologist Dr Tim Haggit said the crayfish population in Hauraki Gulf was "functionally extinct", while the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has stymied all scalloping in the Marlborough Sounds and part of Tasman. 

Hackwell said: "On land, 30 per cent of the environment has conservation status and this should be the same for the sea. Thirty per cent of our marine space needs to be protected in no-take marine reserves."

MPI reported that 27 of 183 fish stocks outlined, were over-fished in 2015. Some of the stocks included the likes of bluefin tuna, scallops and snapper.

However, before that would happen, consumers now had an opportunity to use their wallets to help. 

"Consumers can use their purchasing power to send a message to retailers and the fishing industry that they want sustainably fished seafood.

"We're really please to offer a simple, accurate guide that cuts through he talk and lets consumers make a genuine difference for our ocean."

Hackwell said there was plenty of choice for Kiwis who loved seafood, but wanted more sustainable options for eating. 

Shaun Clouston, executive chef at Logan Brown, and Forest and Bird chief executive Kevin Hague will speak at the app's launch on December 1 in Wellington.

 - Stuff

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