The seafood was served at Ramsay’s London restaurant Maze as well as La Veranda in Versailles, France, where he is a consultant. Oliver sold European eel at his London restaurant, Fifteen.
Ironically, both chefs have also recently appeared on the UK television series, “Big Fish Fight,” about sustainable fishing.
The eel is considered to be a critically endangered species, which has suffered a 95%-99% decline from its pre-1980 levels.
Overfishing has been traditionally recognized as the major contributor to their decline, but a study conducted by researchers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands suggested PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, a common chemical pollutant, could be stopping their reproduction as well. Mother eels could transport PCBs to their young through the eggs and when they did, the young eels died quickly.
Ramsay, has angered conservationists in the past when he suggested people eat skate as an alternative to cod, even though they too are on the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) “do not eat” list and also classified as “critically endangered.”
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