Cape favourite snoek is good for you

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Bron­wyn Davids

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.

PIC­TURE: HENK KRUGER

GOOD STUFF: Fish­er­men un­load freshly caught snoek, a sta­ple food for cen­turies.

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