IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA,
GREAT JOB MR. PARMAR
it is good to eat as many as vegetables and fruits (totally vegetarian), but my aurvedic doctor asked me to stop eating every...
A good fish curry
In recent times bottom trawling supplies the secret ingredient
The recipe for a good fish curry is not limited to secret books of great chefs. There are just four simple points to remember: fresh ingredients, the right kind of fish, perfect proportions and the secret ingredient. These are actually the most vital steps that fish-eaters must consider. After all, no fish is just a fish; its lineage, history and source are central to a good dish. Walking into a supermarket to buy the first fish in sight, as the shopkeepers proclaim, “very fresh, sir” could land a consumer in trouble, with seafood now being transported across the country to feed inland markets in Delhi or Bengaluru. From food poisoning and heavy metals to inflation, eating seafood is gradually becoming an expensive affair.
Fresh seafood can only be obtained along the coast, and only at certain times of the year. The monsoon floodwater washes pollution from big coastal cities into the sea, which affects fishing in those regions. Monsoon-fishing is banned in many states, yet consumer-demand ensures that people continue to fish. The social cost of this demand is that only fishermen who can afford storage facilities benefit. Only the rare small-scale fisherman has room in his house for a freezer that runs on electricity, which is now a necessity if he has to compete with the nexus of large trawl-boat owners, which rule the market.
In order to compete, small-scale fishermen now depend on willing middlemen. A fish that sells for Rs 10 on the beach, multiplies four times in value by the time it reaches a supermarket. The price of fish, therefore, is not just on the tag, but also on the conscience of the consumer. Unwittingly, seafood-eaters are perpetrating social injustices by not being aware of where their seafood comes from.
With the decline in importance of fisherwomen as sellers of fish, they no longer hold the financial reigns that gave them social status. Be it in India or Senegal, the use of middlemen to reach faraway markets for seafood, is perpetrating a reduction in individual freedoms, accorded to women in fishing communities. The conscientious consumer avoids these issues by “buying local”. Purchasing from fisherwomen at the local fish market can allow for greater consumer awareness about fish’s origins, as well as, fair-trade through the elimination of middlemen and large, mechanised fishing mafias.
However, there is still the matter of the proportions of seafood. Although the best pomfrets, mackerels or seerfish make it to the supermarkets, a large proportion of other “unusable” sea-life has to be discarded. The easiest way to get large catches of fish without having to spend a lot of time and effort at sea is to use techniques such as bottom trawling.
Here, a net that stretches from the sea floor to the surface is dragged across miles of ocean to catch everything in their path. Sorting occurs once the net is lifted from the water, or sometimes even after the boat docks. This way, not only are a huge number of fish caught, both mature and immature, but also a large number of inedible organisms such as sea snails, sea horses, turtles, jellyfish and other marine organisms are trapped. This “commercially inviable catch” usually forms a larger proportion than the commercially viable fish, and are either discarded to rot, or ground up and sold as chicken feed.
In some cases, the money earned from chicken feed sales far exceeds the money earned from selling fish. Although illegal in the near-shore, close to 85 per cent of India’s commercial fish catch originates from this form of fishing. Consequently, the oceans are being emptied as marine life is not being given enough time to reproduce and bounce back. The best fish curries avoid these problems by consisting of local seafood caught using sustainable gear by local fisherwomen. But meanwhile, consumers must think about the secret ingredient that today completes the fish curry. This is a good, old murder mystery.
While the marine ecosystem is murdered, authorities and fishermen alike cry “Whodunnit”? The answer does not lie with them, because they are not the ones making the fish curry. It turns out you and I did it.