Golden threadfin bream: cheap in the past, but now we’re paying the price | WWF Hong Kong

Golden threadfin bream: cheap in the past, but now we’re paying the price

Posted 14 June 2016
Golden threadfin bream used to be one of the most commonly-consumed fish in Hong Kong. Pan-fried golden threadfin bream in tomato sauce has always been a popular dish among many Hong Kong families; indeed, this dish has a special place in the collective memory of our society.

Golden threadfin bream is still available today, both in wet markets and at some supermarkets. But for those of you who do the shopping, you may have noticed that the price of this fish has gone up recently – by a lot. In fact, according to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), in April this year the wholesale price of golden threadfin bream had increased by 57 per cent compared to April 2015.

At the same time, the stock of golden threadfin bream available on the market is now mostly composed of smaller individuals, with their size declining further in recent years. This species can grow to at least 35 cm in length, but golden threadfin bream of this size are rarely, if ever, seen these days. Due to overfishing and a lack of effective fishery management, the annual golden threadfin bream catch has dropped by at least 30 per cent in the last decade. As a mark of how far this decline has gone, this species is now regarded as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is also listed in “Red – Avoid” category in WWF-Hong Kong’s Seafood Guide.

The good news is that we still have the power to alter the fate of the golden threadfin bream. But we need to act now – by choosing sustainable seafood and avoiding the consumption of unsustainable seafood, like species listed in the Seafood Guide’s “Red – Avoid” category. Retailers can also play a role in providing and promoting more sustainable seafood products to customers; they can also immediately stop distributing unsustainable seafood.

To see the full list of seafood species in the “Red – Avoid” category, as well as a list of seafood that is acceptable to eat (species in the “Green – Recommended” category), check out our Seafood Guide here: 

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