Chefs have been urged to take wild halibut off their menus amid increased concern over the sustainability of the fish.
Wild halibut, the largest and longest-lived of all flatfish, has long been at risk of overfishing due to the slow growth of the species and a lack of robust management. The sea-caught species is currently listed at a risk level of five by the marine conservation society − the highest ranking when it comes to sustainability.
Now supplier Direct Seafoods has recommended that chefs look to farmed alternatives in a bid to protect the species.
Laky Zervudachi, director of sustainability, said: “Halibut is an extremely slow-growing species and is considered endangered. There is growing concern at the lack of co-ordinated and consistent management plans to rebuild stocks across the North Atlantic.
“This is particularly concerning as the true status is unknown, meaning that fishing continues to deplete potentially unsustainable stocks. We sometimes hear the excuse that that Norwegian halibut is a bycatch species, but most halibut landed in Norway is from targeted longlines which, however well managed, are still targeting an endangered species.
“Direct Seafoods is clear that we won’t sell wild halibut until a truly demonstrable well-managed fishery is in place. The US and Canada have proved that it is possible, and the Pacific halibut fishery has been MSC-certified for many years. In the meantime, we’re urging chefs to avoid supporting the trade in endangered species and only put farmed halibut on menus.”