‘Fishploration’ walks help the public learn about lesser-known fish species and the importance of eating diverse and fresh seafood
“In a tropical country like India, we have more than 200 varieties of marine species that can be caught and consumed. We did a study on the seafood consumption of people in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi and understood that people are not interested in eating more than 10 varieties of fishes. And this was directly affecting the small fishermen — their livelihood was at stake. We wanted to empower the fishermen community. While brainstorming the possibilities of supporting the fishermen, our co-founder Chaithanya Krishna and I came up with the idea of ‘fishploration’ walk. Through these walks inside the fish markets, the public gets to identify lesser-known local fish species and also learns new seafood recipes from the locals,” says Divya Karnad of InSeason Fish.
They organise curated walks in Nochikuppam, Besant Nagar and Covelong fish markets. Only 12 participants are allowed in each monthly walk. “These days, most people order fish online or buy from supermarkets. The old method of going to a fish market and buying fish is slowly declining. And today’s generation has no clue on how to identify a fresh fish. Before the walk begins, we give a curated list of local and seasonal fish varieties to the participants. They can refer to the list and identify the fish from the market. The next step is to find out whether the fish is fresh or frozen. The facilitator who accompanies the team will teach the participants simple ways to identify fresh fish. Some fishermen/sellers can mislead consumers. So, it is always good to have a basic understanding of how to buy a fish. In Nochikuppam market, we also get to see how fishermen bring their daily catch to the shore and arrange it for sale,” she adds.
Another interesting aspect of fishploration walks is the participants can learn new seafood recipes from fishermen or the seller. “If you are bored of the same preparation at home, you can learn a new recipe from our walks! Also, we do have vegetarian participants joining in for the walks. They are more keen to learn about fish varieties!” sums up Divya.