That fish ‘n chips flake could actually be endangered

It’s a fish ‘n chips shop classic: Flake. But have you ever thought about where it comes from? You might want to start.  

Friday night fish and chips are a weekly staple in so many Australian families. Flake is, by far, one of the more popular choices on the menu but we as consumers rarely think about where it comes from.

In a piece written for Broadsheet, the owner and chef of fine dining restaurant Attica Ben Shewry says that while you should be getting gummy shark, which are common and whose populations in Australia’s southern waters, you may actually be eating endangered species.

“Because of a loophole in Australia’s national environment laws, endangered shark species are caught side-by-side with gummy shark in unsustainable numbers – so it’s impossible to know what you’re receiving,” he wrote.

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“In addition, labelling laws in Australia mean restaurants and fish ‘n chip shops don’t need to accurately list the fish species and where they came from, so there are no checks and balances.”

According to Give Flake a Break, an initiative founded by the Humane Society International Inc and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, more than 13,000 endangered sharks have been caught and sold since 2018.

Australia is home to one-quarter of the world’s shark species, so we are in a position to create real change and ensure sustainable, responsible fishing.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society encourages eating flathead, silver perch, or tailor fish as an alternative to flake.