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Webchat with Waitrose fish experts, Mon 22 June, 1-2pm

(221 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Jun-09 12:28:13

As some of you may already know, our friends at Waitrose are sponsoring the film The End of the Line, which is all about ocean sustainability and the dangers of over-fishing.

And on Monday (22 June, 1-2pm), Quentin Clark and Neil Nugent from Waitrose will be joining us for a live webchat all about fish.

Neil is an executive chef at Waitrose and will no doubt have lots of lovely fish recipes up his corporate sleeve. Quentin is Waitrose's fish buyer and knows all there is to know about responsible fishing (and fish-eating).

We hope you'll join us for the chat on Monday but, as ever, if you can't (or you can't wait), please post your advance questions here.

sophable Tue 23-Jun-09 14:21:08

One (or both) of us would definitely like to take you up on your offer Quentin. Please let me know how to contact you directly.

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 23-Jun-09 15:33:06

Wow. Thanks Quentin. Thanks very much for taking us seriously. And do, please take Mrsophable AND sophable: there's nothing like buying off your critics information sharing for increasing support. grin

I'm joking.

You know we all love Waitrose here and that you are at least prepared to respond almost properly is fantastic. I would have liked you to tell me more about the actual levels of PCBs etc that are both acceptable AND found in fish, and what consequences this has, but anyhow, I can almost certainly find that out myself (and will now I am educated by the sophables).

I think you will have to do an official MN blog from your trip sophable? Like PolicyWonk but a bit, erm, pongier?

AitchTwoOh Tue 23-Jun-09 15:59:05

and with that one offer, costing waitrose very little, the mood lifts. well done whichever mkting brain came up with that. smile if only all shops would communicate with their customers like this. give em hell,mr and mrs soph, remember your midgie repellent.

sophable Tue 23-Jun-09 16:55:39

I've just spoken to lady at Waitrose. They are happy for it to be dh that goes. They are happy for him to film. Or be filmed.

They were keen to emphasise that they didn't pay money for this webchat and were invited to do it by MNtowers (confirmation please?)

x

AitchTwoOh Tue 23-Jun-09 16:57:36

can't you both go? you'd be so loved up at getting away from RL that you'd distract each other with the constant goosing and therefore be less potent a force for good. i thought they'd like that.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Jun-09 17:43:28

A bit of a case of crossed wires re dosh has occurred I believe... involving a PR and some cross marketing budget. We thought we'd charged a nominal fee for the chat to cover our editorial costs but I now understand that Waitrose didn't know this [mysterious emoticon]. We were delighted to host the chat (though I think invited is an interesting way of putting it grin) - as said we thought it a very interesting subject and it's fabulous that MrSoph is going to take it further...

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 23-Jun-09 17:44:17

ps, as you can see we've never been very good with money blush.

squeaver Tue 23-Jun-09 18:52:39

Wow! Respect to Waitrose. Very impressive.

sophable Tue 23-Jun-09 21:39:17
SomeGuy Wed 24-Jun-09 00:40:29

I was a bit confused, in Waitrose yesterday, as to why the sardines they were selling were still slightly frozen. Turns out they are labelled 'previously frozen'

Lots of 'fresh' fish on the fish counters in the supermarkets is just expensive defrosted frozen fish. I guess we should just buy frozen fish and defrost ourselves. Would be much fresher than paying more money for frozen fish that's been hanging round in the supermarket.

Is there any point in 'fresh' fish from supermarkets at all?

SomeGuy Wed 24-Jun-09 00:48:40

What's the issue with farmed tropical prawns BTW?

MrSophable Wed 24-Jun-09 11:21:25

Someguy- farmed tropical prawns raise a number of health, environmental and social issues.

-they are often built at the expense of mangroves which are cleared to provide coastal space for the farms. Since mangroves are important nursery areas for juvenile fish this has a dramatic affect on local fisheries. mangroves incidentally also protect from tidal waves- in areas of heavy prawn farming the tsunami impact was far far worse.

-prawn farms are hotbeds of nasty diseases and have to be constantly treated with anti bitoics and other nasty chemicals or the prawns all die. prawns are often treated with other chemicals at harvest time to make them appear more palatable. many of these are carcinogenic.

-all those chemicals and antibiotics are then flushed through into the local environment with predictably disastrous results

-many prawn farms are owned by big business, or utterly dependent on big corporations for food and treatments. they employ less people, at low wages, than the fisheries they destroy. they poison local water supplies and damamge farm land. the effects of the chemical treatments on local human population in parts of asia have been dramatic.

Prawns raised organically in closed containment systems are significantly better but it seems that most people who have visited and smelt a prawn farm lose their appetite for tropical farmed prawns.
Trap caught scottish langoustines are much better- an MSC certified fishery exists in Torridon for instance.

MrSophable Wed 24-Jun-09 11:21:25

Someguy- farmed tropical prawns raise a number of health, environmental and social issues.

-they are often built at the expense of mangroves which are cleared to provide coastal space for the farms. Since mangroves are important nursery areas for juvenile fish this has a dramatic affect on local fisheries. mangroves incidentally also protect from tidal waves- in areas of heavy prawn farming the tsunami impact was far far worse.

-prawn farms are hotbeds of nasty diseases and have to be constantly treated with anti bitoics and other nasty chemicals or the prawns all die. prawns are often treated with other chemicals at harvest time to make them appear more palatable. many of these are carcinogenic.

-all those chemicals and antibiotics are then flushed through into the local environment with predictably disastrous results

-many prawn farms are owned by big business, or utterly dependent on big corporations for food and treatments. they employ less people, at low wages, than the fisheries they destroy. they poison local water supplies and damamge farm land. the effects of the chemical treatments on local human population in parts of asia have been dramatic.

Prawns raised organically in closed containment systems are significantly better but it seems that most people who have visited and smelt a prawn farm lose their appetite for tropical farmed prawns.
Trap caught scottish langoustines are much better- an MSC certified fishery exists in Torridon for instance.

Bramshott Wed 24-Jun-09 11:54:51

Almost all fish on the fresh fish counter has been previously frozen - we make a point of asking as we often want to refreeze it at home, and most of the time there is only 1 or 2 which haven't been frozen already (this is Waitrose).

SomeGuy Wed 24-Jun-09 12:04:22

Hmm.

I don't think I've ever seen any organic prawns.

Here's an article about it www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/sep/21/fooddrinks.food

I think we pay about £10/kg for king prawns.

I don't particularly have an objection the labour practices, I've lived in prawn farming countries and the alternative to working in somewhere like that tends to be starvation, it's quite hard to be precious about working conditions when there are no other employment opportunities.

Not too sure about the chemicals though. It's hard to find any facts on this or on how much testing is done and what the regulations are in individual countries.

It suggests here to buy cold-water prawns:

www.guardian.co.uk/news/2003/jun/19/food.fishing or Madagascan ones. Not sure ho up-to-date that is though.

SomeGuy Wed 24-Jun-09 12:06:16

Why not just buy frozen fish then? More convenient and fresher.

TheUnstrungHarp Wed 24-Jun-09 21:16:13

Mr Sophable - do you know much about trout farms?

MrSophable Wed 24-Jun-09 23:46:09

someguy- the thing about prawn farming is its generally not sustainable , earns a pittance for a very small labour force, often in grim and downright dangerous conditions....i know the alternative for the individual prawn feeder might be no job at all, but if the farm is destroying the livelihood of hundreds of local fishermen, and in a year or two will be wiped out by a disease and leave the few employees worse off than before I don't see it as any sort of benefit.

there are msc certified cold water prawns/langoustines. trap caught is best- trawled prawns have a horrendously high bycatch.

sophable Wed 24-Jun-09 23:47:19

trout farms are the devil's work but he'll tell you about it tomorrow cause he is coming to bed now aren't you darling?

MrSophable Wed 24-Jun-09 23:49:14

Unstrungharp- what i know about trout farms is that (for brown and rainbows at least)they suffer from many of the problems salmon farms raise but they can -and often are- be closed containment systems so they don't have the massive environmental impact salmon farms cited in sea lochs and fjords do. other problems persist..and in my humble opinion the product is not that great on the whole.

farmed sea trout is just as problematic as farmed salmon.

MrSophable Wed 24-Jun-09 23:49:37

oops...

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