SOURCE FISH RESPONSIBLY – SUSTAINABILITY BREAKFAST SERIES: MARCH
Fish is one of the world’s most important protein sources. Yet currently 90% of fish stocks are either fully exploited or worse, severely over fished. Our March 2022 monthly meet-up tackled this crucially important subject and asked – what can restaurants and food businesses do to help? Heidi Yu-Spurrell, CEO of Food Made Good HK, put the issue into focus:
“TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION NOT THE PROBLEM, WE MUST ENSURE THAT FARMED SEAFOOD IS TRACEABLE FROM FARM TO PLATE. IT SHOULD COME FROM SUSTAINABLY-MANAGED FISHERIES THAT HAVE MINIMAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON MARINE LIFE AND HABITS”
Heidi also drew attention to the harm caused by feeding wild-caught fish to farmed salmon which is ecologically irrational and nutritionally inefficient. Putting those wild-caught fish directly on our dinner plates would both improve food security and put less pressure on fish stocks.
All smiles from some of our Members and partners
Heidi then played a short video from the FMO (Fish Marketing Organisation) which was launched in 2005 by the Agricultural Fisheries and Conservation Department. The FMO seeks to ensure that fish coming from local fish farms meets a set of food safety, animal welfare, environmental and workers’ welfare criteria. It has introduced a labelling system which guarantees that fish bearing the AFFS label are farmed locally, sustainably and safely.
Next, she briefly looked at two Hong Kong restaurants taking sustainable fish and seafood seriously: Alibi – Wine Dine Be Social which recycles oyster shells and donates them to a reef rebuilding programme; and Bedu where Chef Richard Corey served a 5-course seafood-forward dinner last June using ingredients that align with WWF’s sustainable seafood guide to highlight ethical catching methods and sourcing.
She then asked the question of ‘what can you do?’ and practical steps include moving away from the big five of cod, haddock, salmon, prawns and tuna by exploring other options that are ideally locally-sourced and in-season. Also to avoid wastage by being more creative and ensuring all wild-caught and farmed fish meet recognised standards. Food businesses can look at Food Made Good HK’s Guide to Sourcing Fish Responsibly and our Toolkit and Community Policy Template. Restaurants will also have to do their own research to stay fully informed and make the right purchasing choices.
Some of our Food Made Good HK Members who are committed to sourcing fish responsibly
SPIDFIER MAKES IDENTIFYING FISH EASY
When it comes to sourcing fish, science can help. Spidfier, one of our Supplier Members, has simplified the task of identifying fish with its new lab-in-a-box that can be used on site. This harnesses the power of DNA sequencing to deliver accurate results within 30 minutes. The whole process is quick, easy to use, and accurate.
Spidfier’s lab-in-a-box fish identifier is compact, fast and easy to operate
PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY ON THE TABLE
The main speaker at the event was Sandy Keung who set up acclaimed restaurant Table. The Food Made Good HK team were especially excited to have a woman speaker on International Women’s Day!
Sandy gave up a career in finance to pursue her passion for food. She believes that having the right ingredients is key to a great cuisine, as she stated “Since the ingredients in the dish are the focus, we must consider: how and where they were sourced; how they were transported; how to handle them before and during cooking.”
She believes that fish should be treated with respect as, “You are transforming the fish. It’s basically one life for another.”
Local-sourced seafood features large on the menu at Table. They serve rabbit fish when in season, a small and “cheap” bony fish that’s a Hong Kong favourite. To give their dishes a “local” flavour, they add a fermented shrimp paste produced on Lamma Island as a shaving on top of their Carabinero linguine. They also use a “homemade” artisan raw oyster sauce made by villagers from Lau Fou Shan.
Table mud crab meat
USING OZONE DEPURATION TO MAKE SHELLFISH CLEANER
Table has an Ozone Depuration tank that sits in the kitchen. They put all their shellfish into this for one to three days before cooking them. Ozone is a very effective sterilizing agent and Ozone Depuration naturally purges them of all metabolic waste and pollutants. Though rare in Asia, the process is widely used in France, especially for oysters that are consumed raw and have historically incorrectly been associated with food poisoning because of the high bacteria count in seas that are increasingly contaminated by sewage.
The bio-filter cleans the tank by removing waste. Before (left) and after cleaning (right).
It’s important that shellfish feel comfortable in the tank environment so they fully metabolize in the water. The Depuration tank is temperature-controlled and circulates the water through a bio-filter that removes impurities and waste.
During the Q&A session which concluded the meet-up, there was an insightful discussion into whether Ozone Depuration changes the taste profile of shellfish and also the problem of cross-contamination.
Meet ups are a way to educate and inspire! Learn more about Table and Fresh Accounting.
This content was created prior to our rebranding to Future Green, as of 28/11/22, when we were known as Food Made Good HK.
Interested in more?
6 steps to turning messy ideas into concrete next steps with The British Chamber of Commerce3rd November
From Healthy Kids Menu to Asian-Inspired Delights: SpiceBox Organics Revamps Catering Services, Championing Sustainability and Clean Eating in Hong Kong12th October