I just read an article by Anna Hart called The Last Fish Supper. If you eat seafood in New Zealand, you should probably read it. You can read it here.
Here are some insightful parts:
…Some of the hoki caught off the coast of New Zealand is sent to China to be processed, before being imported back into the country…
In New Zealand, Hoki is really popular as a cheap, everyday fish. It’s nuts to think that we’re sacrificing freshness for cheap labour. What can we do about this? I’ve heard of produce that are sent elsewhere to be processed and packaged and then distributed nation or world wide. This includes being sent back to the area it was grown/harvested at in the first place. What’s the point in buying locally when there’s a huge carbon footprint?
…most restaurants in Waiheke have to source their fish from Auckland, as only one local fisherman has a quota entitling him to sell fish from an island renowned for abundant snapper, kingfish and trevally…
This is ridiculous. Why aren’t there more local fishermen selling to local restaurants? Especially in our most abundant fishing communities.
I recently dined at a local Chinese restaurant where the staff catch fish for pleasure in their spare time and sell it to the restaurant if they have any surplus. We got to eat a fish that had been freshly caught from Piha. I guess if the staff are knowledgeable and proud of their seafood, they are happy to share this information with their diners.
…Ask the restaurant-owner what species it is, how it was caught, and where it was caught. If they can’t answer these questions, just leave. You won’t be missing a quality meal, that’s for sure…
I don’t have the guts to ask restaurant owners all those things about the fish. Do you? I guess I’m scared that I already know the answer: that they don’t know, they don’t care and they don’t have time or want to find out.
A good chef will be able to tell you what species are over-fished, what are safe to eat and what are great but sustainable alternatives. I’m sure there are many fine dining restaurants menus that declare where each ingredient heralds from. I am not a fine diner. The places I eat don’t specify ingredient nationality or pedigree. What then? The only time I ask about seafood is when I’m buying from a tiny enterprise. Like the dude selling fish at the markets, or the couple that come into my work with a box of fresh seafood for sale.
As a seafood eater, are you paying attention as to where your fish comes from? Do you buy locally? Do you know if your local suppliers buy locally? Do you avoid overfished species? Do you try cheaper, local fish?
It’s always been a dream of mine to live for some time in a small fishing villiage. To buy, bribe or trade fish every day from the local fisherman coming home from sea. Wouldn’t that be grand?
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