x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Delicious endangered

Think twice - at least - before ordering or buying hammour. This region's most popular fish is on a "red list" as severely over-fished

Concerns about sustainable fisheries are not exactly the standard fare as you are about to bite into a deliciously grilled hammour. But maybe it's time to take a second to think before ordering at a restaurant or picking out groceries, because hammour - the region's most popular seafood - is, in fact, an endangered species.

Along with grouper, as the fish is also called, seven more endangered fish species also appear in the "red" category, as reviewed in the sustainable seafood guide launched by the Emirates Wildlife Society. As The National reported yesterday, the revised version of the booklet informs consumers about threatened fish species, as well as 13 alternatives that are categorised as "green" (safe to eat) and "orange" (eat in moderation). The latest edition added two more species to the green and orange categories, expanding variety for consumers.

But consumers cannot make the change alone. Suppliers should also be aware of the endangered species list and avoid fishing those beyond sustainable levels. At the moment, over 60 per cent of fish caught in the UAE are from species fished beyond sustainable levels.

Fish species can recover, however, if they are allowed to repopulate. But until then, as the title of the campaign says, we must "choose wisely". Otherwise, soon we might not be able to choose at all.