DUBAI // A new type of fish will soon be appearing on our plates in a bid to preserve dwindling stocks of endangered hammour.
Hoki – also known as blue hake or New Zealand whiptail – is being imported by Horeca Trade, a UAE food company, as a substitute.
“It’s a white fish with meat that’s quite firm and it resembles the meat of the hammour,” said J V, the managing director of a seafood-processing company in Dubai. “It’s caught around New Zealand and Australia and not in big volumes but that can change. It’s also cheaper than hammour.”
Hammour is being fished at a rate seven times more than its stocks can support.
Hoki, which is rich in omega-3 acids, is widely used worldwide, including by McDonald’s in its McFish sandwiches in some regions.
The fish are snap-frozen as soon as they are caught and delivered to the UAE without glaze – the layer of ice often used to bulk up the sold weight of fish.
The blast-freezing technique, which takes the temperature of the fish as low as minus 48°C within 10 minutes, helps preserve the meat.
“Bacteria can’t multiply and the quality is obviously a lot better than products which are frozen in a cold store,” said J V.
Marco Kouch, a seafood manager at Horeca, said it would help restaurants make a difference to fish stocks by replacing hammour with a more sustainable alternative.
“By purchasing fish caught or farmed using environment friendly practices, they also support healthy, abundant oceans,” he said.