Slow Fish has been organized to draw public attention to the increasingly urgent issues facing seafood resources and to provide information promoting desirable behavior.
It aims to encourage appropriate and functional use of fish as a food while safeguarding seafood resources. It also promotes a dialog with fishermen, who are the managers and custodians of the resource. This is why fish communities from so many parts of the world will be present.
Slow Fish 2005 will offer visitors many opportunities for tasting and conviviality, without overlooking the many challenging issues.
Fishermen, who have great understanding of the aquatic system, are asked to respect the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Maximum potential production has already been reached for 50% of world marine resources, and another 25% is overexploited. The awareness of fishermen and the knowledge that they hold the fate of seafood resources for future generations in their hands must be translated into compliance with the rules, particularly regarding minimum size requirements and catching young fish (i.e. those that have been born recently). The FAO Code is primarily a voluntary agreement and its application on a wide scale depends on the good will of all those involved in the sector (www.fao.org). But good guidelines also include proper handling of fish from the moment nets are pulled in, taking all the action necessary to ensure the consumer receives a good quality, healthy product.
When we come to gastronomy, it is worth remembering that Italian waters contain no fewer than 550 types of edible fish, but only 60 of them are used for eating, and in fact only twenty or so in significant quantities. Italians—and they are not alone—want a fish without bones and prefer the large pelagic fish (tuna, swordfish) or fish of large size such as dentex, sea bream and groper—which is now so endangered that it is extremely hard to find. Housewives almost exclusively cook mullet, cod, sole, shrimps, cuttlefish, octopus and squid, thus affecting the demand for fish on the market. But it is possible to cook wonderful dishes using amberjack, mackerel, bonito, albacore tuna, picarel or frostfish …
The Knowledge Route, demonstrations by great chefs presenting their dishes for tasting, food for sale in the bazaar, tasting of products from Presidia and food communities in the bistro—they will all show that “a different fish is possible” and that we can change our food habits in the interests of the environment and future generations.