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February 16, 2017

A DEEP DIVE INTO SUSTAINABLE FISHING

Did you know that by 2030 we may have only 36 kilos of fish per person per year due to the dwindling supply caused by overfishing and continuous eating of small fry? That’s 36 days of eating one kilo of fish out of 365 days? Oh my!

I was seated with Senator Bam Aquino, who co-hosted a round table discussion on Sustainable Fishing together with Rare.org CEO Brett Jenks, who explained to us why we must care about fishing.

The youthful senator was worried that 2030 is just 12 years away and just around the corner. For a young father, his question was “what will my child eat by then?”. It truly is a big concern that overfishing and using nets to catch fish prevents the small fish from growing to a size that will make them produce more eggs, and create more fish. “A 12-lb fish produces 250 times more eggs than a pound of fish,” says Jenks. Yet we tolerate net fishing and wonder why we are now eating mostly farmed fish like tilapia, bangus, and cream dory.

(From left): Brett Jenks, the author, and Sen. Bam Aquino

What can we do in the meantime? We can stop buying fish not sustainably-caught. We must buy line-caught deep sea fish of bigger sizes and support fishing communities who dry danggit and pusit like those of Balangay’s Best. That surely solves our Lenten requirement for fish on Fridays.

We Filipino get 56% of our protein from fish. It’s our main source of protein as it is supposed to be easier to access, especially by a big part of our population who cannot afford beef and pork due to its rising prices. But, between 2000-2030, there will be a 40% decline in fish available in Philippine waters.

To further inspire us to promote Sustainable Fishing, we were served a tapas style lunch at Chef Chele’s Gallery Vask, as we listened to Brett and Senator Bam about what we could do to ensure we never run out of fish.

We had sustainable oysters, fish balls, tuna tataki, Tinawon risotto in squid ink and scallops and a beautiful grilled fish from the deep sea, of course.

Albondigas de Pescado

Tuna Tartare

Pulpo a la Gallega

There is a program called Fish Forever so municipal mayors can help save their coastal waters and keep their fisherfolk with livelihoods while also making sure we continue to have fish supply. Thanks to Rare.org, there are people who want to do something about the situation.

Scallops in Blank Ink Risotto

There are companies like Meliomar, Inc. that supplies hotels and restaurants with sustainable tuna sashimi (make sure you know where to eat sashimi) because major hotel chains now joined the Sustainable Seafood initiative. We hope the smaller restaurants will also follow suit. Don’t buy cheap. Buy sustainable.

This February, we celebrate Sustainable Seafood Week (February 20-26, 2017). Check out their Facebook page and check out your favorite hotel. The better ones have surely signed up and will offer you a sustainable fish menu.

“Can you taste the difference if it’s sustainable?” one guest asked Brett. He replied, “it’s like holy water”. Only you will know because you know the source of your food and probably soon you will also get to know the fisherfolk who caught it.

Catch of the Day with Clam Emulsion

Sustainability is sweet and sustainable food tastes sweeter because you know where it comes from.

Come celebrate Sustainable Seafood Week and get to know your fish—what fish to eat more of and what to avoid. Life will be sweeter and you will be healthier, too.

 

 

Photos by Chit Juan

 

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