Crispy Baked Fish Sticks and Sustainable Seafood Choices

We enjoy our seafood, but I am always worried where the seafood comes from and if it is sustainable or if there were any negative human interventions while packaging. I am glad that the world’s largest and most respected conservation organizations like WWF-Canada, which is part of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) are actively working to improve the way seafood is captured and cultivated to ensure we have healthy oceans for generations to come. 

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 85 per cent of the world’s fisheries have already been pushed to their maximum exploitation limit or beyond. Due to this reason, many fisheries have changed their practices to meet standards for sustainability, and are becoming certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable fisheries, which is a certification that brings many economic benefits by opening doors to a growing sustainable seafood market. MSC is an independent, non-profit organization set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. We can easily look for the distinctive blue MSC ecolabel when shopping for seafood products, and feel confident that we are purchasing sustainable seafood.

To achieve the MSC Fisheries Standard, fisheries that voluntarily enter into independent, third-party assessment must meet 28 performance indicators for sustainability across three principles:
1. Sustainable fish stocks
2. Minimizing environmental impacts
3. Effective management

To be part of the supply chain for MSC certified seafood, processors, retailers and restaurants need to comply with the MSC Chain of Custody Standard that ensures MSC certified seafood is not mixed with uncertified product and can be traced back to a certified fishery. Assessment against this standard is carried out by independent auditors, takes between nine and 18 months to complete and includes stakeholder input. Once certified, MSC fisheries undergo annual audits, deliver improvements and are reassessed every five years.

Each year more than 10 million tons of seafood, which is about10% of all wild-caught seafood comes from fisheries engaged in the MSC program. Since 1999, more than 250 fisheries around the world have earned MSC certification as sustainable and well managed. Tens of thousands of MSC certified products are now available in around 100 countries. WWF is committed to supporting MSC and its ongoing efforts to recognize and reward leaders within the fishing industry and seafood sector who are addressing the problem of unsustainable fishing to help create a more sustainable seafood market and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

Here is the recipe for Crispy Baked Fish Sticks courtesy of Tom Filippou, Executive Chef, President's Choice Cooking Schools

2 cups panko breadcrumb
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
1-1/2 lb (750 g) boneless tilapia fillets cut lengthwise in 3⁄4 inch (2 cm) strips

Place oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. In bowl, stir together panko, salt and cayenne pepper. In another bowl, beat eggs. Coat fish strips in panko, dip into beaten egg and recoat with panko, placing on a slate as each strip is coated. Place prepared baking sheet on top oven rack for 1 to 2 minutes to preheat. Arrange fish sticks on preheated baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden and cooked through, turning once, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges or ketchup.

Globally, overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices are damaging ocean ecosystems in a way that will soon be hard to bounce back from. Since oceans are essential to life on Earth covering more than 70% of the planet’s surface, supply us with oxygen, and is vital for our health and well-being we need to make sure unsustainable fishing that is harmful for the fish populations, habitats and fishing economies are stopped. If our oceans are to recover, we need to take a different approach: a way of fishing that will meet the needs of the substantial global seafood market, that will allow the communities and businesses that rely on fishing for economic survival to thrive, and that will also allow our oceans to remain abundant for generations to come. So lets do our part and make sustainable choices.

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  1. I rarely make fish at my house. Maybe because I thought it would be hard. If I knew it could be this easy, and look this good, I wouldn't have put it off for this long!

  2. Nice post. There's a nice little phone app for sustainable seafood put out by Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's very handy when I'm out shopping for fish or seafood.


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