Spain's Fish Fight | Ni Un Pez Por La Borda: Kick-off at Mercado de San Miguel Madrid

Update: You can also read my review of lunch at Angel Leon's Aponiente restaurant in Cadiz. 

They call it the discard protest. We all know that our ocean's are suffering - not only by daily consumption of our growing population, but climate change, pollution, trolling, etc. Did you also know that 40-60% of our European seas are littered with dead fish, thrown back from fishing boats? This madness takes places for a number of reasons, our taste in seafood is often determined by diet fads and what's in style, fishing practices have trouble limiting their catch to one or two species, meaning that lots of unwanted fish get cast into the sea having already taken their last breath, or due to fishing quotas - that were established to limit the endangerment of a species - however, when the fishermen realize they have caught too many of a particular kind, the extra of those "protected" species like cod or tuna, end up sinking to their fate.

Begun last year in the UK by activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and with much success as well as celebrity backing from Jamie Oliver and Coldplay - almost 800,000 signatures have been collected- the Fish Fight campaign is finding its way through Europe. Spain recently joined on-board celebrating under the slogan Ni Un Pez Por La Borda (Not one fish overboard) with chefs, politicians, marine conservationists and the press on-hand at Madrid's classic and notorious Mercado de San Miguel last Wednesday. Leading the Spanish fleet; Mario Picazo, chefs Mario Sandoval of Coque, Darío Barrio of dASSA bASSA, Joaquín Felipe of Hotel Villa Real and Hotel Urban, Paco Roncero of La Terraza del Casino and Estado Puro, Ángel León of Aponiente in Cádiz and Sergi Arola (although absent from the event at San Miguel). On this special day of awareness and education, they served up a tapas bar worthy of 4 Michelin stars.

According to Ocean2012, two of every three fish consumed within Spain come from outside of Spanish borders and waters - an alarming statistic for those that believe that Spain's seafood presence is important and note-worthy. Over exploited seas, developed consumer demand/taste and poor sustainable practices have lead us to a "do or die moment", an opportunity to change. The goals of Ni Un Pez Por La Borda and others include reaching the European Parliament in Brussels, therefore initiating adjustments in the legislation of the EU Common Fisheries Policy, altering the methods of capture - so that they are more sustainable and selective - and educating consumers.

Aside from signing the petition, we the consumers can make choices when shopping or eating out (go to Fish2Fork the first review site for sustainable seafood restaurants). Choosing species like scad or horse mackerel (chicharro), mackerel (caballa), and flounder (platija), sea bream (besugo) and pouting are more sustainable, and often more economical options than the much desired and overly consumed salmon, cod and tuna options.


In Spain join the campaign at
Ni Un Pez Por La Borda and follow them on
Facebook
Twitter @niunpez

In the rest of Europe and for more information go to Fish Fight.net
Facebook
Twitter @Hughsfishfight



 Joaquín prepares for the tasting using sustainable seafood and shellfish. 

One of my favorite Spanish shellfish from the Northern Atlantic coast, berberechos, or cockles. This fine raw material was the star of the tapa by Joaquín Felipe. 
Celebrity chef Paco Roncero of Estado Puro and La Terraza del Casino, two of the most famous restaurant outposts in Madrid, was on hand for the event and backs Ni Un Pez Por La Borda. 

Mario Sandoval of Restaurante Coque, on the outskirts of Madrid and holding one Michelin star, prepares the finishing touches on his tapa of cockles, octopus and seaweeds (berberechos, pulpitos y algas). 

Ensalada de berberechos. Cockles salad. 

Sardinas marinadas con sandía y jengibre confitado. Marinated sardines with watermelon and ginger confit by Darío Barrio of dASSA bASSA in Madrid. 

 Left to Right Mario Picazo (a fellow UCLA Bruin alum!), Joaquín Felipe and Darío Barrio.

The Gang's all here. Fish Fight, Ni Un Pez Por La Borda ambassadors left to right, Mario Picazo, Paco Roncero, Mario Sandoval, Ángel León "chef del mar", Darío Barrio and Joaquín Felipe. 


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