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January 20, 2017

BEYOND THE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD WEEK

Whenever I eat tuna sashimi in a local hotel buffet, I think it really is worth every peso because the fish is line-caught and is sustainable. Major international hotel chains have global commitments to use only sustainable fish and that’s a good thing even local restaurants should follow.


Why do we get only the small fish?
Many smaller sizes of tuna never make it to Japan because the Japanese market chooses the size of fish they want to import. Sadly, the ones we find in cans are the small ones we cannot send to Japan. Some we cannot even make into sashimi but would make good kinilaw or ceviche.

I saw the fish being dressed and packed in General Santos City’s fish port (ready for export) some time ago. There are specific minimum sizes and those who do not make the cut end up in the local market.

This month, other outlets besides hotels, will carry the sustainable fish from companies like Meliomar. You can buy tuna cuts—fillets and slices—from retailers who will participate in the Sustainable Seafood Week. Down to Earth, ECHOstore, and other participating retailers will carry fish that are line-caught and not using nets. Nets get all fish, big and small. What is caught with the big ones is the “by-catch”, like a by the way.


Restaurants and chefs will be using sustainable fish during the Sustainable Seafood week on February 20-26, 2017. Chefs like Margarita Fores and Chele Gonzalez have also committed to use sustainable fish not only during this week but always.

This year, get to know about fish. From daing to any kind of dried fish, lamayo, danggit  and more, go beyond Bangus and Tilapia. Instead of choosing farmed fish all the time, try to get deep-sea fish. And best of all, avoid river fish when you can. It’s mushy and does not taste like real seafood at all. I do not wish to mention the names of river fish but you can do a little research on what to feed your little ones. These river fish come out in fish fingers, fish filet and dishes like fish and chips. Yes they are easy to cook, but to get real fish flavor and texture, there is nothing like deep sea and line-caught fish.

Seafood includes oysters, lobsters, crabs and even talangka. Don’t stop at just eating shrimps or prawns. Discover other seafood and you will get your supply of iodine naturally. Do you know that even smoked fish (tinapa) and salted fish are various ways of enjoying Nature’s bounty? With Lent coming up in a few weeks, start to get more fish into your diet. Maybe declare Fish Friday or Meatless Monday.

Yes, even our fish have to be protected from man and his evil ways like cages or dynamite fishing. Fish must be able to swim freely to get the Omega 3 and Omega 6 that are good for us. They develop these nutrients when they swim, not when they are caged or in crowded fish farms.

What kind of fish will you eat today?
We have lots of fish you can start getting familiar with: Talimusak, Bisugo, Lapulapu, Mayamaya, Pampano, Kitang , Talakitok and more.

Can you name others besides Bangus and Tilapia?

 

Photos by Chit Juan and Marilen Fontanilla

 

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