Sustainable Seafood: 5 Fish To Eat And 5 To Avoid In August

India has been blessed with a long and diverse coastline offering up a plethora of seafood up for grabs. Many cuisines like Malvani, Goan, Bengali and Konkani have made use of these offerings, adopting them into their daily fare. Due to their high Omega 3 fatty acid levels and essential vitamins, a lot of people even in landlocked states have been trying to introduce more fish into their diets. As a result in the last two decades, the growing consumption of seafood, increasing populations and unchecked fishing have resulted in a steep decline in wild populations, both in India and across the world.

Why are we so hooked on fish?

The benefits of eating fish on a regular basis are numerous. They’re a super healthy and low-fat source of protein which can help in all-around development. Omega 3 also helps lower the risk of heart disease and maintain healthy brain function. On the other hand, fish can often contain high levels of mercury and PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) which can be carcinogenic in high doses. As with most foods, it’s important to weigh the risks and rewards before choosing how to balance your diet, but in most cases, fish or fish-based supplements tend to bring positive changes to health.

So what can we do about it?

Fortunately for all fish lovers, giving up on seafood isn’t the only way to help improve the situation. The main issue comes about when fishing takes place during active mating season. The new generations are disturbed and the repopulation is stunted. This error can be easily avoided though since different species of fish have different mating seasons. The Indian government has introduced some regulations around seasonal fishing in the most important spawning grounds in the hopes that the fish populations have a chance to stabilise, but these rules are difficult to enforce on a day-to-day basis. This means that as consumers, we also need to take steps towards eating more conscientiously to help prevent overfishing in Indian waters. 

By reducing the demand for certain fish in certain seasons we can give our favourite fish some breathing room when they need it so we still have plenty left for the rest of the year.

Here’s what to eat and what to avoid in the month of August. 

Safe To Eat

1.    Indian White Prawn

Breeding Months: Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Oct, Nov

2.    Kingfish

Breeding Months: Oct, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May

3.    Bombay Duck

Breeding Months: Jan, Feb, Apr, May, Jun, Oct, Nov, Dec

4.    Barramundi (a.k.a. Narimeen, Khajura)

Breeding Months: Mar, Apr, May, Oct, Nov

5.    Anchovy

Breeding Months: Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar

Try To Avoid

1.    Indian Mackeral (a.k.a Bangda)

Breeding Months: Jun, Jul, Aug, Oct, Feb, Mar

2.    Indian Oil Sardine

Breeding Months: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct

3.    Tiger Prawn

Breeding Months: Feb, Mar, Aug, Sep

4.    Squid:

Breeding Months: Aug, Sep, Dec, Jan

5.    Ladyfish

Breeding Months: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec