Dish challenge to conserve fish

DUBAI — The Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF (EWS-WWF) is encouraging residents with a flair for cooking to participate in an online recipe competition that is being run as part of an ongoing campaign aimed at raising public awareness on the status of UAE fish stock.

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Published: Mon 23 Aug 2010, 11:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:19 AM

The ‘Choose Wisely’ Sustainable Fish Dish Challenge is open to amateurs and professionals, and participants are expected to register on the official website ( and submit their culinary creations made with one of the sustainable fishes as listed under abundant (Green) and neutral (Orange) zones.

“There are about 19 species of fish listed out of which 11 are under the green and orange zone. Scientific assessments show the 11 to be great alternatives. They can easily be used as replacements in traditional dishes and are as delicious, easy to prepare and nutritious as their original content,” said Nessrine Alzahlawi, Conservation Officer, EWS-WWF.

The challenge will run until October 15 and entries will be voted by online visitors. The highest-rated recipes will be featured in a specially-compiled cookbook. “We want to help introduce the idea of alternatives to consumers, customers and retailers that can relieve the pressure on popular fishes such as Hamour, which is being over-fished seven times above the sustainable level. If we do not stop supporting the demand for these fishes, then in the near future we’ll find ourselves struggling to recover their numbers,” she said.

About 66 per cent of the UAE population eats fish at least once a week with Hamour being the favourite among locals. EWS-WWF launched the Choose Wisely campaign in April this year following a study that showed a decline in 80 per cent of popular fish varieties over the last three decades.

Categorised list of fish species in UAE

Green zone (abundant)

Shaari Eshkeli (Pink Ear Emperor)

Jesh Um Al Hala (Orange Spotted Trevally)

Yanam (Sordid Sweetlips)

Anfooz (Yellow Bar Angelfish)

Orange zone (neutral)

Badah (Longtail Silver Biddy)

Kofar (King Soldier Bream)

Aqalah (Black Spot Snapper)

Souli (Small Tooth Emperor)

Red Zone (over-fished)

Hamour (Orange Spotted Grouper)

Kanaad (Kingfish)

Zuraidi (Golden Trevally)

Yemah (Snub Nose Emperor)

Fersh (Painted Sweetlips)

Shaari (Spangled Emperor)

Safi Arabi (White-Spotted Spinefoot)

(Taken from the Choose Wiselywebsite, courtesy of EWS-WWF)

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