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The endangered fish dining guide

Hong Kong has a new dining guide with a difference, one that lists what seafood is environmentally sound to eat and which should be avoided.

11 May 2007

The booklet, which ranks the 60 most popular fish species eaten there, was published Tuesday to help ease the strain this southern Chinese territory's voracious appetite for seafood is placing on the region's fish stocks.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), publishers of the guide, said they hoped it would become a regular part of dining in Hong Kong.

"Consumers have the power to make a big difference in protecting globally depleted marine resources through their purchasing decisions," WWF Hong Kong chairman Markus Shaw said.

The booklet classifies species according to how sustainably they have been harvested or farmed. Those with a green or "Recommended" code are caught in ways that have the least impact on their numbers and the environment, including Alaskan salmon and Western Australian rock lobster.

A red or "Avoid" code indicates species caught in ways that have a negative impact on their numbers and include endangered fish such as the humphead wrasse and South African abalone. A yellow "Think Twice" code tells buyers to beware.

According to UN figures, Hong Kongers have a huge appetite for seafood, with each of its seven million inhabitants eating an average of 58 kilogrammes of fish and shellfish each year.

Growing worldwide demand for seafood has sparked concerns for the survival of many species, including tuna and swordfish, which have been fished close to extinction.

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