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Archive for June, 2009

fishy tales

Marks and Spencer is phasing out net-caught tuna. Pret a Manger has stopped using bluefin and yellowfin tuna after its founder watched a documentary on intensive fishing, The End of the Line. Waitrose and Tesco does not sell bluefin tuna. And the likes of Elle Macpherson, Sting, Stephen Fry and Sienna Miller have threatened to boycott Nobu after it refused to back down from selling bluefin. Heck, celebrities are now posing naked with dead fish to highlight the problem.

Seafood has always been a sensitive topic to me. Because I LOVE eating seafood. It is healthy and it is yummy. Very rarely do you find that combination.

I always had a problem finding a good fishmonger. And I have always relied on what’s available at the fish counter at the local supermarket or the rare visits to the Borough. Some friends even make an almost monthly trek to Billingsgate.

In trips to Italy, I would never tire of risotto ai frutti di mare, calamares, seafood pasta…ok I need to stop lest I start drooling over my keyboard.

Years ago, I have visited a fishing village. Looking back now, maybe I was too young to understand their plight. The locals complained of fishermen from elsewhere using dynamites and fine nets to catch aquarium fishes. There was a period where they can’t catch any fish, this in an area quite well known for its marine biodiversity, and the locals relying on that for both food and their livelihood. The locals knew about sustainable fishing long before the world got wind of the sea’s dwindling stocks. They learned by experience. You fish indiscriminately, you start to suffer the consequences quite quickly. Get rich quick, get poorer sooner.

So, on fish and ethics…

Truth is, I rarely buy tuna. When I do, I buy the bottled variety at Sainsbury’s with the Marine Stewardship Council logo. I look at those labelled line-caught or sustainable, and steer clear of cod (there’s a lot more tastier white fish than cod). But it does get harder when you’re in a fish monger. Or looking at frozen exotic fish in the Chinese grocery.

So what is sustainable seafood? Greenpeace defines it as this:
In simple terms, a particular seafood is sustainable if it comes from a fishery with practices that can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the target species’ ability to maintain its population and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.
Identifying which fish come from sustainable sources is extremely difficult. Because of the difficulties in accurately assessing fish populations and because it is very difficult to trace the supply of fish from the ocean to the shop there is no one, truly effective ‘green label” that consumers can look for on fish products, as there is with wood products for example (the FSC logo).
Always ask the person you buy fish from where and how their fish is caught – if they can’t tell you or if you are not completely satisfied with their answer, don’t buy the fish!

Get the list of seafood to avoid here. But, really, they’ve listed all my favourites in there!

The Marine Stewardship Council lists on their site the places where you can buy MSC-certified fish.

In the news:
The Telegraph: Supermarket scraps unsustainable tuna
Guardian: Film prompts Pret a Manger to change its tuna
Times Online: Pret A Manger will no longer be selling tuna

And what your local supermarket says:
Sainsbury’s
There’s a tiny section in the Tesco website
Waitrose.
Marks and Spencer.
Morrisons.

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We’ve been doing this for years, yet only though about blogging about it just now.

We’ve never really liked paper. But we like keeping records. of everything. bills. mortgage statements. bank statements. insurance certificates. Face it, there is a lot of records you need to keep these days with the thousand-and-one insurances we have to cover just about everything. So we scan, and print to PDF.

It’s so much easier to organise. You have folders in your computer instead of the shelves and shelves of storage. not to mention the filing folders and boxes you have to buy as well.

When you need to keep a record of something you received online, print to PDF, instead of printing on paper. These days, I’ve been PDFing my travel itineraries and maps whenever we’re on holiday and bring a PDF reader with me.

So google it up, there’s lots of free print to PDF software out there you can use for your Macs or PCs.

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