Fish McBites!


I found an interesting article on Pollock fishery in Alaska.   The new Fish McBites that are now advertised and popular at McDonald’s fast food restaurants all over the country actually come from “Wild caught Alaskan Pollock’.   These fish that are now the Fish McBites, are certified as a well-managed, sustainable fishery by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and the Marine Stewardship Council.   The bites aren’t exactly healthy, though.


“According to McDonald’s the snack size McBites are 210 calories, including 100 calories from fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of protein. The regular size McBites have 320 calories, including 140 from fat, 500 milligrams of sodium and 18 grams of protein. The larger, shareable size of McBites is 630 calories, including 290 from fat, 1,000 milligrams of sodium and 36 grams of protein. None of these figures include additional calories and sodium content of the tartar sauce.’


The above paragraph shows that just because these fish are “Wild caught Alaskan Pollock’, that they are not necessarily healthy.   McDonalds definitely used the MSC certification as a selling point.   Even though McDonalds claims that the Pollock fishery is sustainable, the Association of Village Council Presidents in Bethel says that it cannot be considered sustainable because of the incidental harvests of wild salmon. Former Alaska legislator Nels Anderson sent emails to McDonalds and the MSC saying:


“If the Marine Stewardship Council and McDonald’s were to check with the North Pacific Fishery management Council and get the bycatch numbers of king salmon, chum salmon, other salmon species, marine mammals and birds, the would be shocked beyond measure and McDonald’s should immediately cease and desist selling pollock under the MSC ‘sustainable’ label and MSC remove pollock from their list of ‘sustainably’ caught fish’


I found the above very interesting because it really goes to show that if you research the food you are eating that claims to be “helping: the environment, or a specific community, that you might figure out that it may not be the complete truth.   These certifications are a way to sell the product, and try to make the customer feel as if they are doing good by eating food from a sustainable fishery.

5 thoughts on “Fish McBites!”

  1. Great article. I never knew McDonalds sold fish. I think its funny how everyone claims their fish is wild caught. Most deep water fish are. I’ve never heard of farmed halibut or a fish along those lines.

  2. Thank you for the research you did on this. What is done for profit isn’t really funny at all is it? I believe the field of environmental economics might be able to assess the cost incurred when a fish is brought to extinction. The ability to understand and convey this information so as to engage the public to eagerly support management efforts designed to insure healthy oceans and rivers filled with fish of the same caliber,is the valuable contribution I would hope to made in this arena.

  3. A lot of companies in AK are no longer utilizing MSC, most likely as a result of this but who wants to be sued in today’s world for speaking the truth? Most are going with a new program through the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Responsible Fisheries Management.

  4. I do not think that all certifications and labels are doomed. I believe that some of them are fully truthful, at least only one could hope. I just think that sometimes large companies (McDonald’s for example) are trying to get some sort of good reputation for being “healthy” especially after “Super Size Me” and similar movies that exploit McDonald’s. I think that there are certain restrictions that could possibly minimize the amount of “half truths” that are used by large companies such as fast food and Wal-Mart. If the law were to really crack down on the criteria a certain food or product must meet to get such certifications and labels then the problem could decrease a substantial amount.

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