Last update: 20-Dec-2013 4:14 am
Friday, December 20, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Brace for the lionfish
Environmentalists don’t make good table companions. Order shrimp at my table and I’ll frown. For each pound of shrimp caught in T&T, up to 14 pounds of by-catch is killed. By-catch is all the fish, turtles and crabs, non-target species, which get dumped back in the sea. Dead. Global populations of large predatory fish such as cod, shark and tuna have plummeted by 90 per cent. Yes, we remember cod as the saltfish in buljol. The species was fished to near-extinction; now saltfish is cured from pollock.
Bake and shark is a national dish, but many sharks mature late and have few young, making these apex predators unsuitable for commercial fishery. Shark is never labelled by species, so we have no way of knowing if we’re eating one that’s endangered, or if it’s even shark we’re eating. It may as well be bake and turtle or bake and rhinoceros, so we best avoid that too. Tuna must be becoming scarce indeed. In the US the non-profit ocean protection group Oceana genetically tested 1,215 samples of restaurant-sold tuna; 59 per cent was not tuna. Supply and demand is at play, with dwindling stocks pushing up prices, encouraging restaurants, vendors or fishermen to cheat.
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