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  1. #1
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    Misrepresenting fish species

    Just passing the time with BG chatting on skype and he raised an intersting question when asking what is Pacific Dory? Its a common enough fish in Ausat but must admit I have not thought about its origns, I wished I hadn't now.

    Australia's appetite for fish and chips is being fed by Pacific dory,

    aka Mekong River catfish, which is set to dwarf our local fishing industry.

    Fish and chips, a wedge of lemon, lashings of batter and salt – a splash

    of vinegar to dilute the grease, perhaps – and all washed down with a

    soft drink, a frosty ale or a glass of vino.

    December, the start of the long, hot summer. Bring on the lazy weekends

    and coastal holidays. Forget slaving over a hot stove or a barbecue:

    dinner is served, at the beach, in cardboard cartons, or parcelled up in

    newsprint lined with greaseproof paper.

    But something is missing, and it’s not the seagulls or the flies. The

    good, fresh, local catch that Australians have for generations

    associated with their fish and chips – the flathead, snapper, silver and

    john dory, red fish, bream and whiting – are in increasingly short

    supply and, as a result, are becoming prohibitively expensive.

    In their place in the fish-and-chips pack, like it or not, is "Pacific

    dory", the so-called "catch of the day" – an innocuous skinless,

    boneless and bland-flavoured fillet.

    Pacific dory is now Australia’s biggest-selling fish, according to the

    Master Fish Merchants Association (MFMA). With sales approaching a

    staggering 7000 tonnes this year, it is driving a fish shop revolution.

    Says MFMA chief executive, Michael Kitchener: "Because it is relatively

    cheap, retailing at around $10 per kilogram, the public love it."

    The problem, according to the chairman of the Australian Fish Names

    Committee, Roy Palmer, is that Pacific dory has never seen the Pacific –

    or any other ocean, for that matter. And it is nothing like a dory.

    Here’s food for thought: the fish you will probably sink your teeth into

    the next time you are beachside and hungry has been raised in cages

    suspended under houseboats and barges in the crowded and polluted waters

    of Vietnam’s Mekong River.

    The same snap-frozen and imported fish, says Palmer, is being sold as a

    popular line in Australian supermarkets under the deceptive marketing

    label, "freshwater fillet".

    It is Pangasius bocourti, one of 21 species of freshwater catfish found

    in the Mekong basin, and – in a move designed to curb deceptive naming

    practices by fishmongers and supermarkets – last year christened "basa"

    under Seafood Services Australia’s uniform fish names process.

    "Basa’s success in the marketplace has been a key factor in fish imports

    from Vietnam doubling in 2002-03 and then doubling again last year,"

    says managing director of the Sydney Fish Market, Grahame Turk.

    An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Vietnamese are involved in the

    government-owned basa fishery. It produces more basa than Australia’s

    total seafood production of 550,000 tonnes a year, according to Turk,

    who is also deputy chairman of the Australian Seafood Industry Council.

    Vietnam’s basa production, Turk says, is expected to reach 1 million

    tonnes a year within five years. Vietnam’s catfish exports have already

    decimated the local catfish industry in the US where producers are

    fighting back.

    There is no basa-farming standard among Vietnamese processors, according

    to the American domestic fishing lobby, thus there is no distinction in

    the marketplace between professionally farmed product and caged fish

    from Mekong houseboats and barges.

    Sewage systems along the Mekong struggle to keep pace with rapid

    development, and run-off from the river’s hinterland is polluted by

    fertilisers and pesticides.

    American industry sources claim large stocks of basa are fed through

    holes cut in the floors of houseboats, the human waste from which also

    goes straight into the river. Food for the fish includes vegetable and

    crop waste, rice bran and animal waste.

    The Mekong and associated aquaculture ponds have a high silt

    concentration, say the Americans, and it is common Vietnamese practice

    to soak the basa fillets in sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), a chemical

    used as a preservative and seafood "texturiser".

    This means that consumers who purchase basa by weight from Australian

    supermarkets need to be wary, because fish treated with STPP retain more

    water.

    In August, the American states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana

    suspended the sale of all Vietnamese aquatic products, following the

    discovery of the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin in basa imports.

    Ciprofoxacin and enrofloxacin – prohibited in western countries because

    of the risk of their transferring resistant micro-organisms to humans –

    were being used by some Mekong River basa producers to combat salmonella

    and other disease in fish.

    The antibiotics can also lead to the development of the infectious

    disease campylobacter, which can cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever,

    nausea and vomiting. Vietnam’s Ministry of Fisheries has foreshadowed

    restrictions on the use of 11 antibiotics in its aquatic products

    sector. The use of the name basa in place of Pacific dory is not yet

    mandatory in Australia, says Roy Palmer, "even though there are a lot of

    reasons why it should be".

    An Australian standard for fish names is expected to be launched early

    in the new year, as a preliminary step towards legislative controls.

    "One of the problems is that every state has different arrangements,"

    Palmer says. "Until there is uniformity, people can drive holes through

    these issues.

    "And the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service [charged with

    responsibility for making sure imports meet Australian food standards]

    does not check fish names. This remains a big problem."
    To quote WK "well bugger me with the rag mans bugle" I didn't know that.
    How can the Australia authorities let this gigantic fraud slip by?
    The supposed Pacific Dory hasn't seen and ocean let alone the pacific.
    I would be very interested to hear a comment from Wayne, who knows much more about these things than my poor ignorant self.

    Disturbing Retail Misrepresentation
    There can’t be good living where there is not good drinking

  2. #2
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    Mind you, ecologically speaking, it's probably better to eat a farmed fish than wild.

  3. #3
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    dont know why, but i cant cut and paste this article from the uk times



    <DIV id=region-content><DIV id=region-body-and-footer><DIV id=region-body><DIV id=region-column1and2-container-layout2>From The Times

    July 13, 2009


    Fish and chip shops accused of selling Vietnamese cobbler as cod




    <DIV id=region-column1-layout2>

  4. #4
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    Nothing wrong with eating fish from sustainable sources willy and they don't poison you

  5. #5
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    A similar thing used to be done regarding names in the UK, don't know if it still goes on, where fish and chip shops used to sell "rock salmon" which in fact was dogfish. Nothing wrong with that, no bones is the big plus, but why not call it what it is?

    I've seen some of the fish farms on the Mekong and mostly they are small, well the ones I saw were small, family run operations and Basa fish is very common and very tasty.

    As for the shit they are fed on I don't know how much of that is true, the farms I saw had sacks of fish feed as it promotes fast and strong growth but, having said that, catfish will eat anything. Swimming vacuum cleaners are what they are.

    KW is correct, farmed fish is the way to go.

    As long as it tastes good does it matter what it's called?

    Sea cucumber / sea slug. Tastes the same, but the ladies don't like the latter.

  6. #6
    I am in Jail

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    This has been going on for years, 60 minutes did a report on Mekong River cat fish, being sold in Australia as numerous species. Local fish is also sold as a different species, most fish and chip shops are guilty of it as with the large super markets.

  7. #7
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    ^^ your missing the point a little, I was posting about the massive fraud being perpetuated on the Australian public and the fact that the authorities are complicit in the con.

  8. #8
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    Fairy muff, Peter, you're correct, there should use the correct names.

  9. #9
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    From The Times July 13, 2009

    Fish and chip shops accused of selling Vietnamese cobbler as cod

    (David Bebber/The Times)

    Valerie Elliott, Consumer Editor


    One fish has been reared in the chilly fathoms of the Atlantic Ocean, and its meat is firm and flakes satisfyingly when cooked. The other is farmed in the rivers of the Mekong delta in Vietnam, from where it is frozen and imported to Britain. Although white, its meat crumbles.

    To connoisseurs they are as divergent as chalk and cheese. Yet in more and more of Britain’s 11,000 fish-and-chip shops they are the cause of a culinary scandal as some unscrupulous friers — albeit a minority — try to pass off the Vietnamese river cobbler as traditional British cod.

    The cobbler — Pangasius hypophthalmus — is one of 20 types of catfish produced in Vietnam for 15 years. It is frozen and exported to Britain, where it is also sold as panga, basa and tra. Its appearance in supermarkets — and in fish-and-chip shops — is not the cause of controversy. The Vietnamese cobbler has won admirers at dinner tables and chip-shop counters.

    Once dipped in batter and deep fried, however, trading standards officers are reporting increasing instances of the river cobbler being sold as cod in one of the more unusual manifestations of the recession’s impact on our lives.



    For fish-and-chip shop operators, the cash differences — and the temptations — are huge. The wholesale price of river cobbler this weekend was £5 a kg compared with £11.75 a kg for cod.

    The first case of fraud was found at the Cat Hill fish bar in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. The owner was fined £8,000 plus costs, reduced to £4,000 plus costs after an appeal.

    Charges were brought under the Food Safety Act under which the maximum penalty is £20,000 and/or six months in prison. More prosecutions are in the pipeline in the West Midlands and checks are being carried out at other fish-and-chip shops.

    John Dell, head of enforcement at Worcestershire Trading Standards, said: “We discovered the fraud after a woman contacted us convinced that the fish she had been served wasn’t cod. We conducted tests and eventually found it was pangasius.

    “There is nothing wrong with this fish and it is widely available here in supermarkets and restaurants. People have been looking for more sustainable fish species to protect cod stocks. But if pangasius is sold, it has to be labelled as such. It cannot just be substituted for cod. That is not fair on the customer or to other local businesses in competition with the fraudster.”

    Mr Dell has reported the issue to the Office of Fair Trading to alert other enforcement agencies that the scam is likely to be happening nationwide.
    In an interview to be broadcast tomorrow in a BBC One documentary, What’s Really In Our Food?, he says that investigations into food fraud have risen by 20 per cent in the past year. “The recession is having a big influence on food fraud. We’re finding a lot of things wrong in the food area. Chip shops have been conning people,” he said.

    The National Federation of Fish Friers is angry that the reputation of its 8,000 members is being tarnished by the scam. Douglas Roxburgh, its president, said: “We’re aware of these frauds. The authorities have got to hand out heavier fines. I’d have said it should be £10,000 at least to set an example. It is misleading the public and mislabelling, and I say throw the book at them. Someone is just trying to make a fast buck.”

    Many fish-and-chip operators have started stocking pollock and pangasius as an alternative to cod, he said, but they are sold as pollock and chips or panga and chips.

    “We can’t support mislabelling. If customers are dissatisfied with their meal, the next time they go for a takeaway they’ll remember the poorer cod and chips and go for a pizza or a burger instead. It’s very damaging for our business.”
    Sarah Appleby, head of enforcement at the Food Standards Agency, said that the watchdog was aware that pangasius was being substituted for cod, especially when prices fluctuated.

  10. #10
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    I will eat no Asian raised farm fish at all, I don't give a fuck if we do raise them and sell them, none goes across my table.
    I do not trust Thai, Viet's or Chinese to damn far with my digestive system.
    I eat very little fresh water fish at all unless I catch it and that has to be in high mountain cold water.
    I do buy wild caught Cod ( Gadus Macrocephalus) and it is processed by Chinese as far as I can tell, but is processed on a processor ship and flash frozen with the spray brine thin ice shell on the fish and it never freezer burns and tastes fresh, But SFS does sell this cod as Atlantic Cod, when in actuality it is a Pacific fish off of Canada, Alaska and the Aleutians and over to Russia and down past Japan on the continental shelf cold waters. and it sells for 330 a kilo, where the Pacific Dory sells for 150.
    I have seen the sanitary conditions along the Saigon and Mekong and the people living out over the water, and I want nothing to do with that mess of shit.
    I just ordered 2 more cases of the cod and 2 more 21 day aged NZ striploins today for Tues. delivery.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang
    I have seen the sanitary conditions along the Saigon and Mekong and the people living out over the water, and I want nothing to do with that mess of shit.
    Nor do the fish, but they don't get a choice.

  12. #12
    Member Isee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterpan View Post
    ^^ your missing the point a little, I was posting about the massive fraud being perpetuated on the Australian public and the fact that the authorities are complicit in the con.
    If you feel that strongly about it, why not lodge a complaint with the ACCC. The ACCC usually responds to complaints rather then initiate themselves (but they have been known to). As you mention the term fraud = misrepresentation, s52 of the Act would be your starting point as your argument is that the description "Pacific Dory" is likely to mislead or deceive the average consumer into thinking that it belongs to the "dory species". You will just have to identify the "defendant" (don't forget it has to be a corporation)

    You would also hinge your complaint on s53 as well - subsection(eb) stands out the most with relation to the origin of the fish - the Mekong river is not the Pacific.

    Isn't "Flake" another misdescription - isn't it really gummy sharks? The only difference I can think of is that its widely known by the public that flake = shark. I must admit ts my preferred choice as I hate friggin fish bones.

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    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterpan
    your missing the point a little, I was posting about the massive fraud being perpetuated on the Australian public and the fact that the authorities are complicit in the con.
    Not exactly a fraud. I mean, if you order Bombay Duck, surely you don't think you are getting duck, let alone that it will be from Bombay, do you? Like the article states, the public love it, the reason for this is simple, it is cheap and tastless, just like it's target market.


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    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Sister just came back from Aus. First meal she had was fish & chips... sorry... fush & chups. She said it's too expensive in Aus, cost them an arm & a leg the one time they bought feesh & cheeps for the family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    First meal she had was fish & chips... sorry... fush & chups.
    Thats a kiwi accent you trying to imitate ya knob, not aussie Where are you from then??

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles
    Not exactly a fraud. I mean, if you order Bombay Duck, surely you don't think you are getting duck
    Spotted Dick's another one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles
    Not exactly a fraud. I mean, if you order Bombay Duck, surely you don't think you are getting duck, let alone that it will be from Bombay,
    Now it must be called Mumbai Duck as there is no Bombay no more,, last time I was there, we had the barge hauled out for a bottom job and we were put up in a hotel, and I came back with a girl to go up to my room and they wouldn't let us in,, I think she was moonlighting as a Bombay Duck salesman and was carrying her stock in her knickers,, at least that the impression I got from the smell,, but I could be wrong as I was drunk to the nuts.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    Spotted Dick's another one.
    That belongs over in the STD thread don't it?

  19. #19
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    First meal she had was fish & chips... sorry... fush & chups.
    Thats a kiwi accent you trying to imitate ya knob, not aussie Where are you from then??
    Aotearoa.


  20. #20
    Member Isee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Isee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    First meal she had was fish & chips... sorry... fush & chups.
    Thats a kiwi accent you trying to imitate ya knob, not aussie Where are you from then??
    Aotearoa.

    Ohhhh, I misread your post, first meal she had WHEN she came back from Aus - I read it as being her first meal when she went to Aus. My apologies for that.

    I'll let you get back to it then


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