Monday 8 June 2009

Fishy Business

I realise I just posted a picture of Omari with some sort tuna fish. I really hope it's not a blue fin. I am very sorry if it is. I don't want to become this week's chief villain given that I don't even like most fish. Unfortunately marine conservation doesn't rank very highly on a Zanzibari's list of priorities. When I was given a swahili language marine guidebook recently all the locals loved it -- they would spend hours discussing which species of turtle tasted best or exchange recipes for exquisite coloured reef fishes. The fish market in town resembles the contents of an oceanarium -- with its hammerheads, manta rays, marlin and barracuda. It's exciting and probably sustainable if left on the micro level practised by the islanders. The problem with tuna is serious and comes from outside. Japanese and other Asian boats seem to pluck them, and much more beyond, out of the Indian Ocean quite unchallenged. Goodness knows where they end up but I am sure our insatiable appetite for sushi and tuna-sweetcorn sarnies has something to do with it. I have never really understood why fish has this "holier than meat" eco-image. It seems to me that raping the oceans is just as bad as anything we get up to on land.

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