Seafood Saviours

The minds be­hind the Know Your Fish ini­tia­tive talk about the im­por­tance of a fish calendar in our coun­try.

India Today - - CITY BUZZ - By Moeena Halim

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.

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