A fishy New Year’s resolution


I sincerely hope that for those who get access to my rants, you have found them informative and useful. I do rant, as I am passionate about ocean sustainability. But, as I said in the missive a few weeks ago, we seem to be losing the battle. And, since the big guns seem ambivalent to making a difference, we need to drive change. We really need to get our act into gear as individuals and then en masse.

In any case, it has always been my intention to get you all thinking, to motivate you into some kind of action. I hope over the last few months, I have given you some staple facts, food for thought and now you can make your plans and resolutions for action in the new year.

So, here are some possible moves you can make in the new year for 2020. With Chinese New Year being early in 2020, you can even get two cracks at the whip. You have ‘the Sun’/ western new year, 31.12.2019 and then Chinese New Year one month later. So, get a grip.

Last week I suggested that overall one should make informed decisions in your buying. Please do that. Check the labels on what you buy. For a starter, look at the English name and make sure it makes sense. For example, ‘White fish’ means nothing and could be anything. ‘Cod fish’ is clearer but not clear enough. Atlantic Cod supported by the latin name Gadus morhua is very precise. That’s what you need to look for.

For another example, don’t just buy Wild caught salmon.Remember ‘wild caught’ means that is generally from Canada/ Alaska and there are many species. Ask exactly which salmon it is… King, Coho, Sockeye and or Chum? There are huge price differentials. Make sure you get value for money. Again, ask for the latin name.

Please beware of seasonality when it comes to your seafood. Good brands should mention details, or the supplier/ distributor should have that information available through websites or other means. This is especially important for frozen seafood, which is most of the product you’ll find on supermarket shelves. Be sensible please. Back to wild caught salmon for instance. It can only be available for the latter months in a particular year when the fish are running. Sockeye for instance only run once every four years. So, look for the ‘best before date’ on packs.

Look for a sustainability accreditation. There are many, but MSC, ASC are the most prominent in Asia.  They do provide a proof of chain of custody, that is a record of where the product comes from, and the means it came to the end user. This is important as it shows that product came from a responsible source and that the source was healthy. Healthy source and healthy product. Safe diet.

Please be aware of the difference in fish. There is a huge difference between northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. The quality and nature of the fish differ; the fisheries are in different states of health; and the fisheries are policed and maintained at different levels due to national competencies. Teach yourself about the fish and fisheries. Overall, the northern hemisphere fisheries tend to be better regulated. Southern hemisphere fisheries, with there prevalence of reef fish tend to be overfished. So again, look for that sustainability accreditation.

Don’t get caught up with marketing jargon. Best bet is to seek out the latin name. Meats are the best example of this with Wagyu, grain fed and organic as examples. In fish, you can get organic, but they must be farmed. Wild caught fish cannot be organic. Its impossible. So, if a fish is deemed organic it must be farmed and there should be supporting documentation for this.

There we have it. A few basic rules. But its all down to you to be educated and sensible.

Well be running some educational forums during 2020, so register with us and we’ll let you know when. Also, look out for our seasonal specials. First will be our Canadian offering in January followed by Icelandic at Easter. Now go enjoy your seafood in the festive season. And don’t forget that new year’s resolution.


CCH 20191219

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