The minds behind the Know Your Fish initiative talk about the importance of a fish calendar in our country.
Mumbai-based Mayuresh Gangal, Pune’s Pooja Rathod and Bangalore's Chetana Purushottam may live in different cities, but they’ve been working together for almost two years on a project they call Know Your Fish. The voluntary initiative aims to make consumers of seafood more ocean-friendly. The three researchers, interested in the field of wildlife biology and conservation, have devised a calendar that advises you to spare a particular species during breeding season and the early stages of their lives. So surmai (kingfish) fans must know that May, October and November are not the right months to indulge in the meaty fish, instead mackerel would be a much more sensitive choice to make in those months. With some of Mumbai’s popular seafood joints, including Diva Maharashtra and Goa Portuguesa, following their advise, Simply Mumbai asks the trio to reveal more. Excerpts from the conversation:
What prompted the three of you to set up Know Your Fish?
The idea of Know Your Fish evolved during a conversation with our senior Nandini Velho in 2014, where we discussed the importance of hotels adapting to a fish-friendly, ocean-friendly menu. To begin with, we contacted a hotel owner from Goa who was keen to have ocean-friendly seafood recommendations on his menu, provided such information was made available to him. We thought this was a good opportunity to implement our idea. Subsequently, we started creating a fish calendar.
How does it work?
We listed commonly consumed species on the west coast of India. Based on a collation of published information on breeding seasons of these food fish and breeding seasons of bycatch species, we put together a calendar for each of these species. This calendar would reveal, for a given species, the best time to consume and when they should be absolutely avoided. With the information that we had, we started approaching other hotels in Mumbai and Goa, and this is how Know Your Fish initiative has come about.
What impact are you hoping to make?
So far four hotels in Goa and four hotels in Mumbai have committed to present the Know Your Fish calendar to their customers along with their menu. Our goal is to get as many hotels to partner from several cities across the west coast of India.
How many species does the calendar focus on?
We have focused on more than 20 species and the list will grow.
Do your findings apply to all of the western coast of India?
The data which has been used for these calendars is coming from different parts of west coast of India. So the findings might apply to entire west coast of India.
Know Your Fish is a voluntary initiative that aims to make consumers of seafood more oceanfriendly.