Fourchette bleue ecoguide: the marine species of the St. Lawrence to prioritize on our plates

Écoguide Fourchette bleue: les espèces marines du Saint-Laurent à prioriser dans nos assiettes

Our St. Lawrence is full of marine species that are under-exploited and little-known by Quebec restaurateurs, consumers and even fishmongers.

This is why Fourchette bleue, a program founded by Exploramer, offers in its 2024 Ecoguide a list of marine species from the St. Lawrence to be added to our plate this year in order to ensure its sustainable development and biodiversity.

Little-known marine species to discover

The list of marine species valued by Fourchette bleue this year includes 13 species of fish, 15 seafood (molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms), 2 mammals and 15 varieties of algae. Among the 45 choices, some quite surprising species are included, such as the northern hagfish. This serpentine-shaped fish greatly resembles an eel and is in high abundance in the river.

The sea cucumber also makes a return to the list this year, as scientific experts believe that their method of capture has notably developed.

Species to leave aside for the sake of biodiversity

However, many will be surprised, since unlike previous years, northern shrimp and Greenland halibut are no longer found on the Fourchette bleue list in 2024.

As northern shrimp, also called Matane shrimp, need a very cold climate to survive, global warming is forcing Fourchette bleue to remove them from its list. Given that shrimp has difficulty reproducing in these circumstances and that its presence in the River is necessary for biodiversity, the consumption of this crustacean favorite of Quebecers is no longer considered eco-responsible.

The same goes for Greenland halibut: its presence in the Gulf is less and less significant. As its preferred prey is northern shrimp, it is increasingly difficult for this fish to feed and for its populations to thrive.

Matane shrimp also have another fairly important predator: the Atlantic redfish. This fish consumes around 214,000 tonnes of northern shrimp per year - that's much more than is caught in a season! It is therefore no surprise that we find it again on the list of species valued this year by Fourchette bleue.

So, if you thought that eating Nordic shrimp was going to encourage gastronomy and local products this year, you will have to think twice!

Showing creativity and openness in order to integrate the species recommended by the Fourchette bleue Ecoguide 2024 into our plates is exactly what will encourage fishermen, distributors, grocers and fishmongers to diversify their offerings. of local marine products and promote sustainable and eco-responsible consumption!

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