Responsible travel means responsible eating. Which is why – if you love seafood – you need Hennie Crous’s ‘Catch it Cook it in Southern Africa.’
Besides the usual stuff – bait, tackle, the habits of the fish, the recipes, the funny fishy tales – this book offers something we haven’t seen nearly enough: it explains the conservation status of each of the 30 or so species it describes, and for that reason alone it’s worth having in your guest library, and on your kitchen shelf.
Surely by now you’ve seen the distinctive SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) logo – a green, a yellow, and a red fish on a deep blue background – and you know what it’s all about educating us about which fish to buy and which to avoid so that we can ensure the sustainability of our seafood.
The greens are the best to have: they can handle current fishing pressure (green-lipped mussel, Atlantic herring, South African squid). The orange species … well, here you should think twice: Cape dory, rock cod, African catfish – they’re described as “giving reason for concern, either because the species is depleted as a result of overfishing… or the fishery that catches them may cause particularly severe environmental damage…”
And then you have the reds. Or, more correctly, you shouldn’t have the reds at all: the galjoen, the jacobever, the baardman. These are the unsustainable species, the collapsed populations, the ones that’ve been totally inappropriately managed.
Fiona Ayerst – who represents SASSI on the Garden Route – says the only way to get local restaurants to buy into the idea that you simply must not serve some types of fish is by educating the consumer: “If they won’t buy them, the restaurants won’t stock them.”
So this is another reason why Catch it Cook it in Southern Africa is a great book to have: it’s as much an educational resource as a cookbook, and as much a personal memoir as a guide.
Buy it here.
NOTE: Fiona Ayerst is available to talk about SASSI – and which fish to eat and which to avoid – to consumer or industry groups on the Garden Route. Contact her via www.oceans-society,org, or Fiona[at]fionaayerst.com.
More information: www.wwfsassi.co.za