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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

19/08/2015: Seeds of love

by Ioannis Zabetakis, assistant professor of food chemistry, university of Athens, Greece
 

First published in International Aquafeed, July-August 2015

It is summer. It is this blessed time of the year when all of us can afford some more time to be spent with our beloved ones doing things that may look not productive, but they really are.

Every summer, I spend lots of time both by and in the sea, sailing, fishing, and swimming. But this summer is different. My boys are old enough now to go snorkelling and spear fishing. You may wonder why I bother you with all these trivial things. They may look trivial but they are quite promising in this sense: teaching young kids to love fishing can be a fundamental step towards teaching them sustainable fishing, aquaculture and nutritional value of fish.
      
http://issuu.com/international_aquafeed/docs/iaf1504_w1/4
Did somebody mention spear fishing? (Image: James St. John)
When a young child catches his or her food, they have a really good chance to get familiar with the food we eat, how different fish taste and which ones match better her or his palate prefers. Then, the issues of how fish are grown, what food they eat and why eating fish is good for human health can be introduced and discussed. We need two things here: to be able to go fishing and some dedicated time by the parent. The second element is more crucial.

But the issues that are emerging from these discussions are diverse and rather interesting.

First, the issue of nutritional value was raised. When I was asked by my boys how much fish we need to eat, I gave an (automatic) answer of about two portions per week but this is not the case. However, still today, there are clear nutritional guidelines on how many grams of fish we need to eat, and also what type of fish! Let’s stick to two portions per week when talking to our kids.

Another issue that was brought up is what fish eat. Here, fascinating things can be discussed, about the food chain management, the impact of anthropogenic pollution on fish quality (i.e. have a look at the Minamata case in Japan, and how fish there poisoned humans and vice versa https://www1.umn.edu/ships/ethics/minamata.htm) and how we can make sustainable the production of fish feeds and hence fish.

Finally, another issue than could be explained to kids is the one of climate change and its impact on fish populations. By linking the melting of ice to the temperature of sea and the domination of some fish species over others, we could sow some seeds of curiosity to the young ones and these seeds should help them in their future investigations. Enjoy the sea and the sea discussions!

izabet@chem.uoa.gr
@yanzabet 


Read the magazine HERE.

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