New What’s the Catch? Series advocates seafood labelling

GO INTO your average fish-and-chip shop and you'll likely come out with a feed of the old 'long time no sea' fish.

It could come from anywhere on the globe that's wet and be caught by fishers from one continent and be processed by people on another.

And we wouldn't know the difference.

Or you can go into your average supermarket and buy a kilo pack of 'whiting' fillets that should more accurately be called 'wai-ting', or something that sounds similar in their place of origin.

Names are complicated and fish names are even more so.

It's hard at the best of times to read the fine print on a food package, but in the case of the average fish-and-chip shop, good luck finding out anything much.

One local shop, run for decades by a chap of English origin, used to call everything 'cod'. Sometimes it tasted of mullet, sometimes it flaked like flathead, sometimes it was in huge chunks like mulloway.

But the shop owner, when pressed, would misquote the Saint James Version of the Bible and call it 'the piece of cod that passeth all understanding'.

Now a new three-part television series from Matthew Evans, former food critic and persona of the Gourmet Farmer TV series, delves into the harvest, production, marketing and labelling of Australia's seafood.

He also comes to decisions on what we should be eating and why.

What's the Catch? premieres at 8.30pm Thursday October 30 on SBS One.

Evans partners with Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society to campaign for reforms to Australia's seafood laws.

In the meantime, a Senate inquiry into seafood labelling laws, is due to report in 10 days.

Southerly change

FOR THE weekend, a southerly change won't do anyone any favours, with winds tipped to touch 20 knots on the exposed areas of the coast and a lumpy swell could make the open ocean and beaches unpleasant or unsafe playgrounds.

Fortunately, the rivers have been reasonably productive.

Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle says there are still healthy numbers of bream from the mouth of the Richmond up to Pimlico, with some decent fish among them.

Flathead remain in numbers, as they should be at this time of year.

It's still possible for big spawning females and their cluster of smaller attendant males to be bunched up in the deeper sections.

Lismore show weekend is normally a peak spawning time in the Richmond, Evans and Brunswick rivers.

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