Portuguese NGO PONG-Pesca has sent out a desperate appeal for people to start diversifying in their choices of fish.
The problem, it explains (apart from its choice of abbreviation) is that Portuguese families have become dependent on fish that is caught outside national, and even European, waters.
From tomorrow (Saturday), the country will be depending on hake, for example, that has to be imported.
Says PONG, it is time for consumers to start “diversifying their diet” and “consuming species that are frequently not taken advantage of”.
If people changed their habits, they would help “reduce waste and ease pressure on the most-exploited stocks of fish”.
PONG-Pesca stresses that much of Europe’s fish is now supplied by non-member states when it makes far more sense to concentrate on policies designed to reap the most advantages from local waters.
“This is also an opportunity for the transformation industry to diversify and give preference to sustainable products ”, said a statement sent out by the NGO.
According to data from the UN’s organisation for food and agriculture, Portugal continues to be the European country with the highest consumption of hake – around 62 kgs per person, per year. This is three times more hake than the European average.
Thus PONG-Pesca’s decision to make tomorrow the “Day of Dependency on Hake in Portugal”. The association explains: “Every year each member state assigns a symbolic day to the exhausting of local fish stocks. Europe consumes more hake than its fleet captures, which means the majority of hake consumed comes from non-member countries”.