Read it Today – Wrap it in Fish Tomorrow

Would you eat something if it is considered to be:


Important and over-exploited commercial line fish, with stocks in desperate need of recovery.


If the west coast fishery of the species had collapsed and the east coast fishery of the species is a high line fish by-catch?


Well, I won’t.


So, let me tell you the story, so that you can make up your own minds.


Yesterday I was paging through the Pretoria News when my eye caught the Verve section on page twelve – a Fresh Fish Guide. The recipes were great, but I was concerned because the article said that they were all (Yellowtail, Soldier, Cape Salmon and Sole) Orange Status Fish. So I decided to double check with Sassia, before heading out to the local Rump and Ocean to make a purchase.


The results were disturbing. Although Yellowtail and Soldier were both Green, Cape Salmon and Sole were not only Orange, but also in a very poor state – both in terms of population and threats. In fact, Cape Salmon (aka Geelbek) was: “Important and over-exploited commercial line fish, with stocks in desperate need of recovery” and Sole was: “West coast sole fishery collapsed. East coast sole fishery high line fish by-catch.”


Needless to say, we settled on Yellowtail.


So, I thought that it would be best to let Verve know of the status of Cape Salmon and Sole; to ask them to be careful about what they recommend to their readers in view of Sassia’s conservation efforts; and perhaps to highlight the status of these species in a subsequent edition of Verve.


I sent a polite email to that effect.


In return, I received an equally polite email from Zenaide Jones, the Verve editor at the Star, stating that: “Angela Day chose fish that can be found for sale – quite legally – at fishmongers and restaurants currently. In our opinion, we provided our readers with the information they needed to make a responsible decision. We even urged them to download the Sassi guide.”


In view of the fact that Verve clearly had access to the status of the fish and the wherewithal to contact Sassia, why did they use these particular Orange Status fish regardless? And why do they abdicate the responsibility for the fish they use in their recipes, deftly moving that responsibility to the reader? Methinks this is a cop-out


It gets worse: In the article Verve ALSO printed a description of what Orange status means in general, thereby creating the impression that Orange is okay. Here is the description:


“These species may be legally sold by registered commercial fishers and retailers. However, an increased demand for these species could, for various reasons, compromise a sustainable supply.”


This description is not even remotely similar to the descriptions attached to Cape Salmon and Sole.

Does Verve believe that they are NOT promoting an increased demand for the species by publishing mouth-watering recipes for their entire (HUGE) membership to see?

Is Verve not in the process abetting the compromise of sustainable supply?


Perhaps I am over reacting. But, I did expect Verve to take some sort of ownership of and responsibility for what they feed us, the masses.


Right now, I cannot help but wonder … Does this mean that when they publish a recipe for a home made hair conditioner that it is an At Own Risk situation too. In other words, if you end up bald – don’t bother sharing…


I, for one, don’t like the idea at all! Scary Stuff…


Or is it just me????????


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