Education

What seafood are you really buying on Hong Kong

By CCH

I do get very upset when I stroll around the supermarkets in Hong Kong. I look at the labels and wonder who has made them up?? And then, does anyone really care what is on them?

Not wishing to dwell on this, but can people recollect the instance some years ago when a well know supermarket chain here was selling ‘oil fish’ as ‘cod fish’. Only a spate of sickness from consumers prompted an investigation and the supermarket was brought to task. Have they learned their lesson? I would suggest ‘No’.

I see fish selling as ‘white’ fish? What on earth is that? Maybe a scientific name on the pack might give us an inkling. I see salmon sold as ‘wild caught Canadian salmon’. Probably right.. but is it Chum, Pink, Sockeye or another?? I mention this as these all have different price points and qualities. To put it into perspective, chum salmon is normally used as canned salmon and sometimes as cat food. Sockeye or Coho, on the other hand are superlative.

Another example, which I noticed the other day, was Icelandic wild caught salmon. Sounds absolutely fantastic. And if you can get this product I probably is. But as a matter of fact, most salmon from Iceland is farmed. There I wild caught of course, usually escaped farmed. BUT to get quantities for export and sale I would suggest is very hard to achieve.

Finally, my major frustration. As a fish supplier, when I see a processed product for sale at an impossible price, I immediately question what it is or how old it is. To be a bore for a moment and take Atlantic Cod as an example….The prices off the boats in Norway are set by the Government to ensure a return to the fisherman. Prices are usually over 30 kroner a kg, so 3.6 USD p/kg. The product is then shipped for production and then the yield on production is approximately 50%. That immediately increases the price to 8 USD, prior to shipping and packing. So when arriving at the supermarket, the price of the product has to be in the region of 10-12 USD. There is then their margin, at least 40%, leading us to a selling price of 14usd p/kg so, 110 HKD p/kg. So, when they sell for less than a ‘real’ price, I do worry. All I cant say is caveat emptor, ‘Buyer beware’. BUT I do wish these powerful brands in Hong Kong would be more responsible and take the opportunity to educate rather than just concentrate on sales. This really would help in the fight for sustainable oceans.

CCH 10.04.2019

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