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How your choice of fish protects the Adriatic biodiversity

David Skoko is a well-known chef from Istria and a son of a fisherman. Together with his sister Ida and a colleague Ivan Zidar, David will be our guest at the Cinefocus section of the fourth Kinookus Food Film Festival in Ston.

In a tavern "Batelina" David and his family prepare specialities from fish caught by his father Danilo. A large part of that catch is proclaimed scrap by the uniformed, global taste imposed by intensive fishing. However such fish is by no means behind the prominent species, which due to its popularity risk becoming extinct all together. In "Batelina" they nurture strong, authentic tastes, without any phoniness.

On Saturday 7 September, at 6.30pm in the atrium of the Rector’s Palace in Ston you are going to find out how important is for the preservation of biodiversity of our sea to change some of the habits of choosing fish, habits that are often propelled by laziness. The guests and visitors of the Cinefocus evening are going to try some specialties prepared by David, Ida and Peter from the fresh, just caught, “humble” fish.

During the lecture and cooking the audience will also be able to see a video, the graduation thesis by Ida Skoko, about a cyclic link between the sea and our dining tables. Ida is into video works and she graduated at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

How closely the culinary approach of Skoko and his family follow the Slow Fish philosophy can also be seen in the extract from the shopping guide “When You Shop, Use Your Head!”, which is going to be published by the Association Kinookus and Slow Food within the framework of the ESSEDRA project:

"Why should we be careful about how much fish we eat? Isn’t eating more fish the top tip of any dietician? The problem is that, whether out of conformism, fashion or simple laziness, we always eat the same fish species. As a result, a number of species, such as bluefin tuna and salmon are now endangered.

But since most fish farms also create problems for the environment, buying farmed fish (other than clams, mussels, oysters or fish from organic farms) is not a viable alternative. The solution is not to stop buying fish, but simply to opt for lesser known species from the seas closest to us, which are just as good and have no contraindications.

If we learn to follow a few simple rules (respect minimum size; respect seasonality by avoiding eating species in their reproduction season; vary choices by learning the names of “forgotten” fish and recipes involving them), we can still continue to enjoy the food the sea has to offer. As is the case of fruit and vegetables and all food in general, choosing local, seasonal fish is the best solution for enjoying food to the full without compromising the environment."