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5 Easy Ways to Protect the World’s Oceans

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

Dani R

Jun 08, 2021
8 minutes to read
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From visiting ethical restaurants to eating sustainably sourced seafood, here’s how to help protect the planet with your stomach

There are plenty of reasons why we should protect our oceans. For a start, they produce around 50% of the world’s oxygen, and they also absorb around 30% of the carbon dioxide that humans produce. They are also one of the world’s most biodiverse environments, with many communities relying on the ocean’s harvest for survival.

Becoming a more responsible consumer doesn’t necessarily have to involve drastic lifestyle changes. There are a few very simple things you can do to help protect the environment and the oceans. And the good news - most of them involve eating!

Be a responsible picknicker

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Heading to the beach for a barbecue or a picnic? Then make sure you leave nothing behind you when you go! Things like ring-pulls can get easily lost in the sand, but they do a lot of harm in the ocean.

If you make your picnic food in advance and store it in a tupperware, you won’t need to worry about disposable packaging. These cheese, potato and onion pasties are just the ticket, and we wouldn’t say no to these smoky scotched eggs!

Eat more sustainable fish

You may have seen the documentary ‘Seaspiracy’ recently, which highlighted some of the damaging effects that large scale fishing has on the environment. It points to the need for change in the industry, but the good news is that there are plenty of organisations already fish more sustainably.

The Cornish Fish Producers Organisation is working hard with its members to fish more sustainably. One of its key initiatives is to encourage the British public to eat species that can be caught locally, rather than imported from abroad, including Cornish king crab (formerly known as spider crab). It partners with celebrity chefs to provide delicious recipes for these lesser known species.
It can be hard to discern how sustainable the fish you buy from the supermarket is. Instead, we recommend starting with Discover Seafood, an interactive map that will show you what’s in season in every port, and where to buy it.

Reduce your use of plastics

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There is so much plastic in the world’s oceans and around 8 million metric tons is added every year. Plastic waste consists of everything from the often-mentioned drinking straws to food wrappers and abandoned fishing nets.

Trying reducing single use plastics as much as you can. We’ve all come to grips with the bag for life scheme, and the good news is that there are plenty of fab eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. We’re big fans of Waxwrap, a reusable alternative to clingfilm made of fabric impregnated with beeswax. And we love Ocean Saver’s ethical cleaning drops. Why not head down to your local zero waste store and see what they’ve got on offer?

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There are some absolutely wonderful restaurants out there doing great things for the planet by using locally sourced, sustainable and seasonal ingredients. So make sure you visit them and keep them in business!

In Kent, Will Devlin’s The Small Holding offers a menu of produce sourced from local growers, foraged and grown in its kitchen garden - it was recently awarded a Michelin Green Plate for its sustainable credentials. Meanwhile, Farmacy in London is a vegetarian restaurant that grows all its produce on a farm in Kent, which is delivered to the kitchens in an electric van.

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The best way to preserve the world’s oceans is by reducing your intake of meat and fish. For those unwilling to consider a fully vegetarian diet, why not consider doing ‘Meatless Mondays’ and being veggie one day a week? Not only is it good for the planet, it’s also a great way to expand your cooking repertoire with new flavours, textures and dishes.

We have lots of wonderful recipes to help you out. How about this healthy mac n’ cheese recipe? Or this vibrant pea and asparagus risotto from Theo Randall? And who needs KFC with this buttermilk fried celeriac recipe from Rob Howell?

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