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Change your Tuna | Mail On Sunday

Posted Jun 14 2009 10:33pm
tuna - sustainable alternatives to fishChange your tuna | Mail Online: "Harley Street nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says that the best alternative to tuna is herring.

'MCS-approved herring from Hastings, where the fishermen have used the same methods for hundreds of years, is as good as it gets,' she says.

'There are health risks associated with big predator fish, such as swordfish, as the industrialised nations have been using the world's oceans as a toilet for many years - the higher up the food chain they are, the more likely they are to be contaminated with toxins such as mercury. It's best to eat lower down the food chain, such as herring.'"

Oh really ? Once again the Editor is a little economical with the quote. What London nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston actually said was...


MOS 1 In light of Pret A Manger's decision to take tuna out of its stores from July (following the founder being shocked by the film), nutritionally, what would be the best fish to replace tuna which is so high in omega-3 fatty acids?


YBW There is no truly, fully ecologically friendly, commercially viable, sustainable source of fish, as even farmed fish have other fish fed to it. I believe food manufacturers are going to have to be more innovative and look at seed oils such as Echium (Vipers Bugloss in the UK Paterson's Curse in Australia) that converts to the long chain omega 3 fatty acid EPA five times more efficiently than flax oil. MSC approved Herring from Hastings where the fishermen have use the same methods for 100's of years is probably as good as it gets but even they use modern monofilament 2" drift nets , so bycatch will still be an issue.

MOS 2 Nobu restaurant refuses to stop selling the endangered bluefin tuna. It has the highest EPA and DHA per portion than any other fish. Again what is the best alternative nutitionally.

YBW Nobu provide what their wealthy clients want. They'll stop selling it if their clients stop asking for it. There are newly discovered strains of algae that provide both DHA and EPA, admittedly not as tasty as Tuna, but pioneers are developing ways this can be added to bread or ice cream so that everyone can enjoy the health benefits of essential fats, not just the wealthy few.


MOS 3 More people are eating sustainable pollack and whiting instead of the unstainable cod and haddock. And likewise mahi mahi instead of endangered swordsfish. Will this have any effect on their health, or are they similar nutritionally?


YBW There are health risks associated with big predator fish such as swordfish as the industrialised nations have been using the world's oceans as a toilet for many years - the higher up the food chain the fish are the more likely they are to be contaminated with toxins such as mercury, xenoestrogens and other pollutants. If you are going to eat fish then it's best to eat lower down the food chain - fish such as herring.


4 Finally, the new film could put people off eating fish altogether. Why would this be bad for their health?

YBW We don't need more fish in our diets we need more essential fats - hempseed oil, fresh flaxseed oil, even a good cold pressed virgin rapeseed oil provides omega 3 fats. If we had healthier diets, ate less meat and more fruit and vegetables, research suggests we'd be better at converting these short chain oils to longer chain EPA and DHA needed by our brain and all cell membranes for optimal function.
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