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Public Encouraged To Eat Hake

UK - Seafish, the authority on seafood, is urging the British public to eat more hake. The advice comes after catches of the Northern hake around the UK have been plentiful so far this season. An increase in demand from consumers for the whitefish, which is similar to cod and haddock, may help to reduce the pressures on cod and haddock fisheries.

The demand for hake in the UK has decreased over the years even though its availability has remained fairly high. According to Nielsen retail figures for the 52 weeks leading up to 16 April 2011, the UK only spent £1.5 million on chilled hake in supermarkets, compared to £124 million on chilled cod.

Dr Paul Williams, Seafish Chief Executive, commented: “With properties similar to cod and haddock, hake is an excellent species to try and it's very good value for money. We are lucky in the UK that the quality and supply of hake is great – so I'd encourage consumers to widen their range of seafood to include hake this summer”.

Hake has, however, remained popular outside the UK. Hake, or merluza, has remained a strong favourite in Spain, who, with the highest per capita consumption of seafood in Europe, could be seen as seafood experts.

Dr Williams continued: “In addition to tasting great, the Omega-3 content for hake is surprisingly high for a whitefish. It is the 12th highest source of Omega-3 in a table published by Seafish, from a total of 41 species tested”.

The latest ICES (scientific) advice for Northern European hake, the stock landed in the UK, is favourable for its sustainability. The Seafish Responsible Sourcing Guide to hake is can be found at www.seafish.org

Mitch Tonks, fishmonger, food writer and restaurateur, is a big fan of hake. “Hake is a great favourite in Spain and a lot of ours is exported; we should definitely eat more of it here, it is a lovely whitefish, a real treat to get hold of a chunk as its flesh is soft and delicious. Snap it up when you can”.

Hake can grow quite large, like cod, and can be processed into fillets and steaks and is available filleted or frozen. In Cornwall, the traditional dish of “hake and onions” is still popular.

Best availability for UK-landed hake is May until September. Certified sustainable supply is also available from Southern Africa.

the Fish Site Editor

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