February 25, 2010 / 6:34 AM / 9 years ago

Something fishy? Eco-guide lists seafood to avoid

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Love your seafood as much as the environment? A new guide to sustainable fish stocks in the Asia Pacific aims to help diners in Singapore enjoy their meals without harming one of the world’s major marine ecosystems.

A seafood vendor counts her money at a market in Singapore August 23, 2007. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

Singapore is one of the biggest seafood consumers in the Asia Pacific region, with an average 100,000 metric tons consumed each year, according to environmental group WWF, which launched the Singapore Seafood Guide on Thursday.

The guide is the WWF’s second in the region — a guide for Hong Kong seafood lovers was launched a few years ago.

“By using this guide consumers and corporations can make a difference through informed seafood choices,” said Amy Ho, managing director of WWF Singapore.

“When buying seafood or dining out, we can use the Singapore seafood guide to choose species that are fished and farmed responsibly,” she added in a statement.

The guide uses a simple traffic light system: green means recommended eating choice; yellow stands for only eat occasionally and red means avoid eating.

Singapore is a hub for seafood and almost all of it is imported, the WWF said, much of it from the unique, and fragile, marine ecosystem next door known as The Coral Triangle.

“The Coral Triangle is under increasing threat because fish are being taken out faster than they can be replenished,” said Geoffrey Muldoon of the WWF’s Coral Triangle Programme.

“In the past most people have been unaware of where the fish on their plates comes from or whether the species they are eating are heavily overfished or caught in ways that are damaging to marine environment. Much of the seafood you see in Singapore may be from areas that have been overfished for years.”

The Singapore Seafood Guide is available as a free download from the WWF Singapore website (www.wwf.sg) and will also be distributed free of charge throughout the country.

The Coral Triangle, dubbed the nursery of the seas, is the most diverse marine region on the planet, and home to more than 3,000 species of reef fish and commercially valuable species such as tuna, in addition to 500 species of reef-building coral.

It covers around 6 million sq km (2.3 million sq mile) of ocean across six countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and East Timor — and directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people, the WWF said.

Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Alex Richardson

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