Fish Update Briefing, Friday, May 19


MORE people in Japan are becoming infected with a parasitic worm after eating raw fish and other seafood, with medical experts pointing to a change in the way seafood is distributed nationwide, the country’s health ministry has warned. It says there has been a significant increase in the number of reports of ‘anisakis’ infection, which is accompanied by sharp abdominal pain. They jumped from just six a decade ago to 124 in 2016, leading the ministry to urge people to either heat or freeze seafood and examine it thoroughly for signs of the parasite before eating.  Larvae of anisakis, a white string-like parasite 2 to 3cm long, are frequently found in species such as mackerel, bonito, salmon, squid and Pacific saury. They infect the intestines of their hosts and move into their muscles when the hosts die. The larvae die when thoroughly heated or frozen under minus 20 C for more than a day, but they can make it into the human body alive when the food is raw or undercooked.


THE McDonalds restaurant chain has withdrawn an advert for a seafood dish on British television after it was accused to using child bereavement to sell fast food. The ad shows a boy talking to his mother about his late father and wondering what they had in common. They go to a McDonald’s where the boy orders a Filet-o-Fish and the mother says: ‘That was your dad’s favourite too.’ The bereavement charity Grief Encounter said it had received ‘countless calls’ complaining about the ad and called it insensitive. McDonald’s said it had not meant to upset anyone, but ‘wanted to highlight the role McDonald’s has played in our customers’ everyday lives — both in good and difficult times’.


AT least 1.3 million euros has been awarded to 19 seafood enterprises around Ireland under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme for the seafood sector. Michael Creed, the minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: ‘It is especially welcome to see that aquaculture enterprises are dominating this round of grant awards. Grants of almost a million euros are being offered to 10 aquaculture enterprises. Nine of these will further develop our oyster production, while the other concerns mussels.’  He said that the EMFF Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme remains opens for applications and supports capital investments in licensed aquaculture sites to grow production and mitigate environmental impact.


A GROUP of researchers have found what is believed to be the first ever example of a fish living deep in a European cave. The discovery was made in southern Germany and the scientists think the fish, called a loach, separated from conventional fish more than 20,000 years ago. It is the first time a cave dwelling fish has been found in western Europe, although there are examples in other parts of the world. They were surprised the loach was living so far north.


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