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March 17, 2017updated 08 Sep 2017 12:51pm

Five popular but unsustainable varieties of fish it’s best to avoid

Haddock from the North Sea and the west of Scotland is no longer sustainable to eat after stocks fell below the acceptable levels in 2016 according to the the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Fishing is unsustainable when it threatens to wipe out a species of fish.

Haddock ranks as one of the UK’s “big five” most popular fish, alongside cod, tuna, salmon and prawns.

Verdict takes a look at the major species sold in UK supermarkets and fish shops, which are actually unsustainable.

1. Swordfish

Swordfish is a large silver fish with a distinctive sword shape on its head. Swordfish has a steak-like texture and is found in warm to temperate seas.

The only stocks considered to be relatively healthy are in the Eastern Pacific, as it is over fished almost everywhere else.

2. Atlantic salmon

Wild Atlantic salmon stocks in North America, Europe and the Baltic have been exploited since the 19th century and in many regions the species has disappeared completely. It is commonly sold fresh, canned, or frozen.

3. Plaice

Plaice are characterised by the eye-catching reddish spots on their smooth, brown skin. Their flesh is white, tender and subtle flavoured and plaice are popular around the world, being used in a variety of dishes including battered for fish & chips.

Plaice grow and reproduce very slowly, making them vulnerable to over fishing.

4. Bluefin tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna numbers dropped 96.4 percent from unfished levels due to decades of over fishing, according to data from 2013. About 80 percent of the global bluefin catch is consumed in Japan, where it is popular served raw as sashimi and sushi.

5. Wild Seabass

Wild seabass has suffered a dramatic decline in the English Channel, the Irish and Celtic Seas and in the southern part of the North Sea.

In 2010 the quantity of sea bass at breeding age was 15,000 tonnes, but is now estimated to be 11 to 12,000 tonnes and is expected to fell to 10,000 tonnes in 2015 – the lowest level for 20 years.

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