By PMA RASHEED
12 April 2011, The Gulf Today
Dubai: Resources of the UAE’s highly favoured fish Hamour is at the top of the over-fished species list, as it has been facing declines of 90 per cent since 1978, reveals an environment expert.
This delicious fish is excessively exploited and being trawled seven times beyond sustainable levels, said Nessrine Alzahlawi, Conservation Officer and Marine Biologist at The Emirates Wildlife Society- WWF (EWS-WWF).
She was speaking after the launch of “Sustainable Fish Recipes”, a first-of-its-kind sustainable fish cookbook that features 20 sustainable fish recipes from the UAE.
The new ‘choose wisely’ cookbook has been released by the Emirates Wildlife Society- WWF (EWS-WWF) on Monday at Gordon Ramsey’s Verre restaurant at Hilton Dubai Creek. The book is a real community effort, reflecting the special nature of the UAE residents and fish.
“The cookbook is the latest addition to the EWS-WWF’s ‘choose wisely’ sustainable fisheries campaign. It showcases recipes submitted to the sustainable fish dish challenge. This is the green choice, when fish is on the menu for the UAE residents,” added Alzahlawi.
“The recipes help people taste the benefits of eating sustainable green-labeled “Go For It” fish and offers consumers alternatives to eating red-labeled “Think Again” fish such as the Hammour, King Fish, and Shaari,” she added.
“Recipes reflect the cuisines of India, the UAE, Europe and South America. Recipes of Tamil Nadu Fish Curry, Shaari Eshkeli with Lemon and Olive Oil, and Hot-Smoked Green Tea Souli Wraps are a few among them,” said Alzahlawi.
According to her, the main goal of the EWS-WWF’s “Choose Wisely” campaign is to address the environmental impact of overfishing in the UAE by increasing customer awareness about the heavy exploitation of UAE fish resources, encourage action from concerned stakeholders, and offer delicious tasting ‘Go For It’ alternatives.
“With colorful names like the Pink-Eared Emperor, Orange-Spotted Trevally, Yellow Bar Angel Fish, and the Sordid Sweetlips, sustainable green-labeled “Go For It” fish taste delicious. The 48-page bi-lingual cookbook explores their flavors with 20 fully-illustrated multi-ethnic recipes submitted by amateur chefs from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah,” she elaborated.
“The recipes were sourced as part of the ‘Sustainable Fish Dish Challenge’ sponsored by the EWS-WWF and the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi. Consumers submitted their favorite sustainable fish recipes to the www.choosewisely.ae website,” noted Alzahlawi.
“The recipes were rated by fellow fish eaters. A selection of recipes from the participants in the Sustainable Fish Dish Challenge was chosen for this book. The cookbook recently won the "UAE Best Fish and Seafood Book" from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010 for its efforts,” she added.
The 20 sustainable fish recipes use sustainable species of the UAE fish which will be made available free of charge from Choose Wisely partners’ hotels and restaurants, as well as from the EWS-WWF offices located on the 8th floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building in Abu Dhabi .