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Hake news: read all about the fish they’re calling the new cod

Life and style | The Guardian

It’s cheap, delicious and certified as sustainable. So what if it won’t win any beauty contests?

‘My dad had two boats built in the 80s, especially for hake. The day they launched, the government put restrictions on the quota because they thought it was overfished.” I regard Sean Perkes, who is a fish merchant in the south Devon port of Brixham, home to the busiest and most diverse fishing market in the UK, with mild, historical sympathy. A terrible story. Did his dad go bust? Not so much, says Perkes’s face. This family have been fishing since the 1500s. It would take more than a quota change to make them go out of business. And in any case, hake stocks have since rebounded, to the point where some people are calling it the new cod.

Measuring fish sustainability is a dark and fascinating art: clearly, you can’t tell whether it is ethical to eat a fish by simply looking at it, nor necessarily by knowing how it’s caught, or even where. Farmed bass, for instance, can be sustainable, but sea-caught bass is not. Sudden spikes in demand, hundreds of miles away, can threaten a species overnight. The Marine Conservation Society (from whom the Guardian takes its lead) and the Marine Stewardship Council don’t always agree, but on hake they’re aligned, and it has been certified sustainable for four years.

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May 16th 2019, 4:14 am
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