Sustainable food from the sea

Its texture is soft and smooth and it has an agreeable sweetness and a salty scent, just like most other types of shellfish. Mussels are bursting with nutrition and can still be enjoyed with a clear environmental conscience. Because mussels are good for the ocean. They purify the water and reduce over-fertilisation, and in my opinion they are also a good example of really smart fast food.

Fresh cooked mussels in Ljungskile, photo: Emelie Persson

Because all you need are a small number of ingredients and a saucepan. Invest a little time, and the reward is a pan where you simply want to dig in and dip your bread into the delicious sauce without delay.

Like most other types of shellfish, prawns are best served with as little fuss as possible. Just imagine freshly peeled prawns in mayonnaise on an open sandwich. But lately, there has been a lot of debate in the Swedish media about our beloved prawns. The prawn may actually be our strongest brand, a brand that signals west-Swedish food identity, and characterises the entire Bohuslän coast and Gothenburg. It signifies something that is good and true, and has a long tradition. What has made the World Wildlife Fund ­– WWF put prawns on their Red List is mainly the way in which they are caught. There is far too much by-catch. Small shrimps that are thrown back into the water. This is neither good for the environment, nor for prawns. But in northern Bohuslän, fishermen belonging to the organisation Njord have been working with this issue for a long time. Together with scientists at Tjärnö Marine Biology Laboratory, they have tried to find a solution. Stefan Jensen at Restaurant Rökeriet in Strömstad explains that the aim is to keep working with the prawn fishing industry, to find a useful solution where we can keep enjoying this traditional delicacy without feeling guilty.


Photo: Åsa Dahlgren

Seafood plate in Smögen, Photo: Åsa Dahlgren

There is no simple solution to this problem, but the most important is to keep working together to identify a way forward. We are all part of the solution in the same way that we are all able to make a difference by choosing carefully what we buy. Consumer awareness is a good starting point, along with a dialogue with your fish monger. And I hope that we will have access to even more seafood in the future. I would like to see the best seasonal fish and shellfish packaged in a simple and well-prepared way and available everywhere. So that seafood can be enjoyed by everyone. Perhaps this would result in a few more nominations for the White Guide next year. Come on! The West Coast is actually where the best seafood is caught and landed – fresh from the ocean to the fishing harbour.

Written by: Maria Zihammou

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