NL holds the fifth rank as the largest fish producer among the EU countries after Spain, Denmark, France and UK. The biggest resource of fish in NL comes from the North Sea region that spans between four countries; Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, UK, and holds almost 60% of the total EU fish production. The most important fish production in Holland are flat fishes, eel, African catfish, trout, sea bass, sea bream, cod, shrimps and shell fish like oysters and mussels.However the whole fish production in Europe is steadily decreasing due to many factors such as high production cost, growing fish import from other countries which has lower labour cost such as China and strong control on the standard of EU fish production. Many countries in Europe have in fact becoming dependent on the import produce. NL does not escape this problem as well. Most of the fish consumed in NL are actually coming from Spain, China, South Asian Countries, and the Pacific.
Bigger production sadly does not always mean sustainable production. Problem such as over fishing is among the main problems that the country is facing. The local environmental organization; Stichting de Noordzee, has established the www.goedevis.nl (the good fish) information centre to distribute the information and rise the concern over sustainable fish consumption. They have issued the list of “preferable”, “second choice”and “not preferable” type of consumable fishes, which are sorted based on the level of the impact the production process has on the environment and the continuity of the species.
The irony is that most of the local NL fish production is listed as the “second choice”or the “not preferable” ones except for the catfish, oyster and the grey shrimps! (See the list below for your self. Unfortunately I could translate all the names in English.) Even the most consumed fishes in NL such as Kabeljauw (Cod) and Schol, which is widely sold in the country’s many visbanken (fish stall) and supermarket are also not suggested to be consumed. The same case goes for the smoked eel or Gerookte Paling another popular highly-priced local delicacy which is also my favourite, which is apparently also not sustainably produced.
Another irony is that the famous supposedly local delicacy; the Dutch national icon: the Haring (that is often eaten raw with onions) are not even locally produced as it actually comes from the Northern Atlantic sea.
Here is the list of grade of the LOCAL Holland fishes:
The “Preferable” are: (names are given in Dutch)
The “Second Choices”
Rode and Grijze Poon
The “Not Preferable”:
For more information about the goedevis and the other fish choices click the following link:
So next time, before you choose your fish in the supermarket or your fish dish in the restaurant, try to remember this list as the change starts with YOU! ( I still have to except the hard fact that smoked eel is not a good choice! Sniff sniff