Aussie Seafood Lovers Urged To Stop Buying 'Flake' To Protect Sharks
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is urging Aussies to opt for sustainable alternatives to flake when they visit their local fish and chips shop this summer.
Kicking off their new campaign #GiveFlakeABreak, the AMCS hopes to shine a light on Australia's national environmental law which permits the harvest of endangered sharks.
In Australia, there is currently no legal obligation to label shark meat as such, with the meat commonly known as 'flake'. There is also no obligation to label what species it is or where it's from.
Shark scientist Dr Leonardo Guida said seafood lovers had plenty of other options when it comes to flake alternatives.
"Fish and chips on a Friday night is an Aussie family staple, and I've loved it since I was a kid. But many seafood lovers may be horrified to learn that they could be eating an endangered shark if they chose flake," said Dr Guida.
He added that people could also look to the AMCS's sustainable seafood guide GoodFish to make better choices.
"By pledging to give flake a break, we're signaling that endangered sharks need better protection.
"We need to give sharks the breathing room they need to recover, while we continue to improve fisheries practices and tighten our laws.
"Flake should only refer to shark meat from gummy and rig sharks which aren't endangered, yet endangered school shark, endangered scalloped hammerheads and critically endangered whitefin swellshark can still end up on your plate as flake," Dr Guida said.
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In a recent survey that observed the menus of 70 fish and chip shops that sold shark meat, it was found that less than a third (29%) of shark meat on sale referred to a specific species.
The remaining are labelled generically as 'flake' and in one case, 'boneless baby
shark', meaning it's pretty much impossible to tell what you're eating.
The good news, however, is that the survey also found that at least 40% of the fish and chip shops surveyed did sell a sustainable alternative to flake.
"On average, $2 is the difference between eating an endangered shark and a sustainable alternative. But you wouldn't necessarily have to leave the shop to pick something more sustainable," added Dr Guida.
"Have a chat with your retailer, ask questions about your fish, and in choosing sustainable options, we're better supporting local industry and healthy oceans all at once."
You can sign the pledge to GiveFlakeABreak at sharkchampions.org.au/flake
Featured Image Credit: Creative Commons
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