Snoek is the news salmon — but don’t tell health nuts!
Cape Town fishermen are worried well-heeled, health-conscious yuppies (and companies) will start desperately seeking snoek
Salmon is so last season — and snoek might be taking its place.
Scientific studies have proven the nutritional value of the Cape snoek — something fish vendors in the Western Cape have always known. Now they are concerned that big companies might net all the fish for well-heeled consumers who are on the hunt for the next health fad.
"Cape snoek is a healthy‚ cheap and high-protein food source‚ with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids‚" concludes one 2016 report.
The scientists‚ Suné Henning from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s department of food technology‚ and Louwrens Hoffman‚ from Stellenbosch University’s department of animal sciences‚ concluded that Cape snoek contains similar amounts of fat to pink salmon and has a carbohydrate content of only 0.7%.
They took samples of 10 flecked snoek caught at Cape Town’s Stompneus Bay and collected from Die Visfabriek in Brackenfell.
Samples from the left side of the flecked snoek were kept raw while the right side of the fish were placed into a plastic bag and cooked in boiling water. The study showed that cooked snoek contains a protein content of 24.5%‚ while raw snoek has less protein and a higher fatty acid content.
Rafiek Isaacs has sold snoek at Kalk Bay harbour for 12 years and says he rarely gets sick, and the key to his vitality is snoek.
"It’s healthy‚ it’s good for your heart‚ for your bones and your marrow‚ and for your skin. We’ve known this since before we were born — our grandfathers knew this‚" says Isaacs. "If I look at a Capetonian‚ he doesn’t really get sick. Colds don’t really get us‚ even a fisherman eats a lot of fish‚ and he’s healthy."
He says that a 4kg snoek sells at prices ranging from R80 to R120‚ whereas a 2kg yellowtail costs at least R120. But he is concerned that once people become aware of the nutritional value of snoek, he will no longer be able to sell the fish.
"Now people are going to see snoek is a very healthy fish‚ then big companies are going come and buy all the snoek," says Isaacs. "Then the government is going to say you [small scale fishermen] can’t catch snoek anymore‚ the snoek needs to be caught by the factories because that’s where the money comes from."