Fish Update Briefing, Friday, July 13

EU PROBES TUNA FRAUD
CANNED tuna is being treated with illegal substances in at least two European countries, the European Commission has found. Europol and Interpol carried out the investigation following a tip-off from whistle blowers that tuna intended for canning was fraudulently being sold as fresh tuna. They said their investigation took place in 11 countries (Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and found that tuna for canning was regularly being illegally treated with substances that enhanced the colour, leading to a misleading impression of its freshness. The investigation resulted in 51 tonnes of tuna being seized, and authorities in Spain and France are conducting judicial inquiries against several fishery business operators. The European Commission has since launched a joint EU/Spanish mission to follow up on the practices, followed by an audit by the EU’s food health and safety watchdog, DG Santé.

CLOSURE THREAT TO WHITSTABLE OYSTERS
THE famous Whitstable Oyster Festival is threatened after Canterbury City Council served the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company with an order to remove all the oyster trestles from its land within two months. The decision puts the town’s oyster production and 200 jobs at risk. Although the company owns the section of beach on which the trestles are situated, the metal structures have come under scrutiny regarding safety and whether their position on the beach breaches licensing laws. The company has increased capacity tenfold since 2010 and has 2,500 trestles from which it expects to harvest more than 100 tonnes of oysters this year. James Green, director of the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, which traces its origins back to the 1400s, said: ‘The council pursuing enforcement action will result in the 2018 Oyster Festival being the last oyster festival where Whitstable oysters will be available.’

HULL CELEBRATES SEAFOOD RESTAURANT ARRIVAL
A STYLISH new seafood restaurant has opened close to where Hull’s once famous fishing fleet was based. Humber Fish Co has been launched in a former fruit and vegetable warehouse by local restaurateurs James and Paula Stockdale. The couple have invested £100,000 in their new venture, saying they aim to create an experience and environment to rival the best seafood restaurants in London. Chef James, who has almost 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, said: ‘With Hull’s maritime heritage, it’s really surprising no one has opened a trendy fish and seafood restaurant that reflects all that history. We’re putting that right.’

LONG LIFE TO LOBSTERS!
A University in the United States believes it has found the reason why lobsters live so long. In 2016, one creature due for the restaurant pot was found to be 132 years’ old, but was reprieved at the last minute by the owner. Marymegan Daly, director of the Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity, said: ‘Lobsters aren’t immortal, but they have an enzyme called telomerase that repairs DNA copy errors and is active throughout their life.’ She explained that when human cells divide, the telomeres, which protect the DNA, become shorter. But in lobsters, telomeres retain their ability to protect the DNA for far longer.

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