Saturday, Dec. 02, 2023|
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As we ate our way through Portugal, one of my favorites was sardines. Whenever it was on the menu, you can be sure I would order it. The small ones were fried and sometimes put in a vinegar solution. You could eat the bones and chew on the head, which I love! The larger ones were also tasty, but I wish I had chopsticks to remove the bones and the bitter gut that was left in when cooked.
However, while we were there in October, the International Council for Exploration of the Sea advised that the sardine industry will be suspended in Portugal and Spain in 2018 because of the huge decrease — from 106,000 tons in 2006 to 22,000 tons in 2016 — of sardines.
The APROPESCA fishing association said the proposed ban will lead to the “death of the industry.” The association’s president, Carlos Cruz, said, “If the ban goes ahead, it will lead to the death of the fishing industry, especially those operating small vessels. Portugal’s sea minister has no idea of the damage that a ban will cause to countless families.” He added that while larger vessels would be able to seek out other waters for fishing, fishermen serving local communities would be unable to survive lengthy prohibition. The president added that hardly any small sardines were captured this year, which he thinks is proof that the sustainability of the species is not endangered.
Cruz says this argument can be validated by port records of all sardine catches that took place during the course of 2017.
“We are here to cooperate,” he said. “We, above anyone else, need to protect the species. If we were causing any damage or threatening the sustainability of sardines, we would be the first to act. We need the government to be more active in this area, we need it to find suitable answers and solutions. The minister should explain what is being done to mitigate the consequences of a prolonged ban for communities whose livelihood depends uniquely on fishing.”
Socialist MP Rosa Albernaz expressed concern about how restrictions will affect the growing importance Portuguese gastronomy has on tourism, arguing that the sardine is the symbol of Portugal.
Earlier recommendations this summer called for a 15-year ban, which the government rejected, as it is estimated that it would need 15 years to rebuild the industry.
A study by the University of Porto revealed that aquatic ecosystems are at risk because of the hormonal pill discharge in the residual waters and climate change. The hormone progesterone is being discharged in the sewers and can harm fish production.
Patricia Cardoso, a researcher from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Researc at the University of Porto, explained most of the hormones are being discharged from hospitals and households. The researcher said the main problem is the wastewater treatment plants, which are not eliminating the hormones as they should, so the fish are being especially affected by the changes to their ecosystem. She said the pharmaceutical industry is constantly releasing new products into the market and it is very important to know which ones are contaminating the environment.
It would have such a terrible effect on so many small fisherman as well as the many small shops who specialize in canned sardines. These stores had walls of sardines from different regions. If there were no sardines to sell, these stores, as well as the factories that can the sardines, and the fishermen would all be out of jobs.
I could not help but think of solutions to this problem, such as aquafarming sardines like what is being done for Kona kampachi.
Rice: I had someone stop me at KTA Super Stores and ask about cooking rice. I have been to restaurants where the rice is not edible, either hard or too mushy.
According to the rice buyer at KTA, Kent Nakamura, yes, there is a difference in each new crop and therefore he insists they are labeled as “new crop.” As a consumer, you should be aware that the amount of water needed to cook the rice will vary.
My son, who is super particular, tests each new crop of rice to see if it needs more of less water. In other words, rice is not all the same. According to Kent, it could matter where it comes from, either from Sacramento, Calif., or Texas, and the climate, whether the area had too much rain or drought conditions.
Kent says most sushi chefs have total control of the cooking of the rice — the amount of water added to the rice, as it is the most important ingredient in sushi. There is nothing worse than eating sushi with hard or mushy rice.
He also said the quality of a rice cooker matters. The Zorijirushi is one of the best and the price difference comes from the thickness of the pot. The thicker the pot, according to Kent, the more it has the ability to retain heat.
So if you are particular about your rice, test a small batch when you open a new bag to see how much water you will add.
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melon: If you have not already tried it (and gotten hooked), try the Honey Kiss melon, which is available at the supermarket now. I have not had a bad one yet. It has a nice crunch and sweet, honey taste. I promise you, once you buy it, you will keep buying it until the season ends.
HCC: Hawaii Community College’s Cafeteria is open 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today through Friday. Call 934-2559 for takeout orders and to check about desserts and whether they have fresh fish to make poke or chirashi bowls.
Email Audrey Wilson at email@example.com.
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