The global production of seafood, whether from capture or aquaculture fisheries, has expanded nearly eight times, from 20 million tonnes in 1950 to 158 million tonnes in 2012, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Together with Foodie, we invited chefs from restaurants around Hong Kong who are already championing the use of sustainable seafood to help us as consumers to choose better too.
Gerhard Passruger, Executive Chef, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
”If you look at the human population in the past 40 years, we have doubled. We are breeding like rabbits. So, if we look at eight billion people now, versus four billion people about 40 years ago, it is impossible to keep doing the things that we did back then. We need to rethink how we can get the resources from our planet, and it’s not just seafood, it’s all our food.”
How can we do better?
I would say, start thinking. Look around, inform yourself a little bit, know the food that you are eating. There is no straight answer because seafood itself is very complex, depending on where it comes from, how it’s cooked. Just simply start caring about what you eat and start showing a bit of interest.
Favourite seafood dish?
I think people don’t want to hear this, but I love bluefin toro. Unfortunately, I haven’t had it in two years simply because it is the wrong thing to eat at the moment, so no more of that. Sea urchin is also good, which is also becoming questionable.
I think at the moment it’s really scary to see what social media can do to discover a food trend. If we look at octopus, for example, it’s heading to be an endangered species. Ten years ago, if you tried to put it on a menu as a chef, no one would take it. And now, suddenly, you go on Instagram and every second post is for octopus from Spain, and within half a year the species has become almost extinct.
Going back to my childhood – I’m from Austria – every freezer chest was filled with European codfish. About 25 years ago, it started disappearing. Before it was so easily available, and suddenly we realised, it’s gone. Europe caught that just in time. They put bans on catching it for about, I believe, 10 years, then put it back on strict quotas, and actually a fish that was almost extinct had time to recover. I think it really showed us how a fish that seemed so abundant can suddenly disappear because of the volume of people [demanding this seafood].