Sunday, April 15, 2007

Time to think about the fish-food

My husband showed me this article in today's Sunday Times.
Maybe we should consider not eating the fish to extinction? I have been vegetarian for my entire adult life and generally don't feel the need to push my views onto others, but this is just shames us as humans:

SA looks to China for fish as catches fall

‘It’s very scary. I’m going all over the world to find fish for us’

Fish from China is destined for South African shores due to a sustained drop in fresh fish supplies.

Several of South Africa’s largest seafood retailers confirmed this week that they were talking to foreign trade partners to ensure fresh fish for the domestic market.

This follows reduced catches of South Africa’s favourite fish, hake, at a time of rocketing fish demand both locally and abroad. The weaker rand has also prompted big companies to export a greater proportion of their dwindling catch.

Instead of hake and chips or kingklip with rice, locals could soon be eating frozen pollack, a North Atlantic alternative to hake.

Other fish heading for South African shores — in processed frozen form — include hokie from Argentina and Chinese alternatives, such as ling.

Leonel de Gouveia, co- partner of Cape Town fresh-fish chain Texies, said several stores had run out of fresh hake over Easter. De Gouveia’s company is sourcing foreign fish.

“We’re dealing with a couple of importers looking at various alternatives to hake. Many people have gotten used to hake. It’s almost a right that fresh hake is part of the whole food experience,” he said.

He said consumers were sensitive to changes in fish supplies: “As owner/operators we take the bullet from customers. There are complaints about it,” De Gouveia said, adding that chicken was being added to the menu at several Texies stores.

Ocean Basket chief executive George Nichas, whose outlets countrywide account for about 40 tons of hake every month, said the combination of dwindling catch volumes and soaring demand meant kingklip was now more expensive than prawns — bought from the Far East.

“It’s very scary. I’m going all over the world to find fish for us,” Nichas said.

Industry sources said the local wholesale price of hake was about R25/kg compared with overseas prices fluctuating between R40 and R50/kg.

Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk recently cut the national hake Total Allowable Catch (TAC) by 10% to 135 000 tons.

South Africa’s biggest hake wholesaler, Irvin & Johnson’s chief executive Francois Kuttel, said he was optimistic that hake would recover if authorities stuck to a proper management plan. If not, alternatives would have to be sought. “Hake is certainly not the only fish out there. Various other people have found other species to be acceptable here,” he said.

1 comment:

Mary said...

These kind of articles really sadden me. I'm not a vegetarian but certainly trying to be. Each week I seem to be having a discussion with someone about vegetarianism and it's really been hitting home.