Cape favourite snoek is good for you
THE HUMBLE snoek, with its centuries-old Cape following, could be headed to the top of “foodie must have lists”, as scientists have discovered that it is “quite high in protein, important omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat”.
Ahead of World Oceans Day tomorrow, a Cape Peninsula University of Technology food science and technology lecturer, Sune’ Henning, and Stellenbosch University’s leading meat scientist, Professor Louw Hoffman, published their study on the quality and value of snoek.
Henning and Hoffman will continue their research into other South African marine fish species.
Cape snoek is a low-fat fish with a fat content of less than 4% percent and was found to be high in the “good” fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) .
The EPA content of the fat of raw snoek is 9.11%, and for the fat of cooked snoek it is 10.13%. The DHA content of the fat of raw snoek is 19.7%, and 20.28% for the fat of cooked snoek.
Henning and Hoffman found that it has a high protein content of 24.5%, higher than marine fish species such as European hake, sea bass, cod and freshwater fish such as rainbow trout and catfish.
“Cape snoek is often seen as a lowvalue fish, but it is in fact a healthy, relatively cheap high-protein, low-fat food source that is high in ‘good’ omega-3 fatty acids,” said Henning.
Good news for snoek lovers – it is on the sustainable seafood list of the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiativeand is a recommended alternative for some of the more endangered species.
With air and litter pollution, oceans are under severe pressure, as they cover 71% of the planet’s surface and are “the largest absorbers of carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming”.
Stellenbosch University’s Professor Sophie von der Heyden, an associate professor in the Department of Botany and Zoology, said an estimated billion people rely on fish for their main protein source and the demand had led to overfishing.
GOOD STUFF: Fishermen unload freshly caught snoek, a staple food for centuries.