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Carl Kenworthy

BASA fish

by Carl Kenworthy published on


Did anyone watch Channel 4's Dispatches on Saturday (15/1/11) about 'Basa' fish amongst others? Sourced from one of the most polluted rivers in the world, the Mekong river, that has been tested for sewage, arsenic, PCB's, DDT, etc. If you follow this link: - you will see how this fish is grown; they actually inject the fish with 'hormones derived from pregnant human female urine' - beggars belief!

Unfortunately, I had purchased some fillets on the Friday beforehand and ate them with my wife and son prior to this programme - I still have not been forgiven! The fish is quite bland (a sauce is really needed) but was fresh and to a point edible. On the same TV programme some fish & chip shops have been using this fish but selling it as cod. I had purchased this fish (also known as Vietnamese river cobbler or Filet de pangas - French version) from Morrisons supermarket with the named supplier being Cumbrian Seafoods Ltd. Should someone investigate to see if this product is fit for human consumption?

I have also discovered that a purchase of 'Young's frozen chip shop extra large fish fillets' contains Basa fish in its entirety. On the back of the pack it states "to give you the most delicious fish we use either Basa (B), Haddock (H) or Alaska Pollock (P). You can see which fish we use by checking the letter after the best before date on the side of the pack." Guess what.. it's (B)! I will be living in the shed next!

I have signed up to the fish fight as I think it is an appalling waste regarding 'discard' and hope the programme's that Hugh has made start to jolt a few politicians, not only in this country but also in the EEC. I watched Gordon Ramsey's 'Shark Bait' (the bull shark was more polite!) and having lived in the South Pacific in the 1960's & 70's I saw first hand when countries like Japan are allowed to fish in local waters - they just decimate the area without a thought to the local people who fish for their supper. GOOD LUCK TO HUGH AND HIS TEAM!



5 replies
Replied on

Hi Basa fish can cause allergies to people who usually are not allergic to fish (wikipedia) but as I have eaten this fish before many times and enjoyed it I thought I would do some research into an alternative sustainable fish that I can afford to buy, via the BBC masterchef site (at the end of each programme it says go to website for list of sustainable fish) there is a link to the Marine Conservation Society, on the sustainable fish list is Basa with the following comment Pangasius farmed to Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified production standards is currently the best choice to make for this farmed species. The ASC standard certification addresses a number of issues of environmental concern, the auditing of which requires farm inspections and standard enforcement. I guess like all overseas food production we have to rely on someone getting the standards right. Whilst I would love to buy British overtime with a limited budget and wanting to eat sustainable fish as it is healthy unless anyone can offer alternatives along with Pollack I will still be eating Basa

Replied on

I love fish and eat it regularly. I bought River Cobbler twice at the supermarket before I realised it was this that was making me I'll violently sick. I have inadvertantly eaten it three times since and each time I have been violently I'll. No other fish affects me like this. My last contact was at a popular pub carvery and I did not know the fish was river cobbler.

Replied on

Please PLEASE do not believe everything you hear on TV. This link gives you the truth about the strict import laws regarding this fish. Most of what is cited in the report is Australian based which in fact has equally strict, if not more so, than the UK. Read and digest, like you should this very popular "new" fish to many countries.

Replied on
Replied on

Hi Carl & everyone else! - Thanks a bunch! I also bought this fish, thinking it would help to conserve cod supplies. I looked it up while I was eating it for my tea. Until I read your information, I had actually been enjoying it. At that point, I felt quite ill! I also tried Cobbler some time ago, and liked that too, until I read up on it. I'm a big fan of Hugh, and the work he and his team do, and I watch most of his programmes. I must have missed this one. It's a pity that there isn't more good quality, cheap fish available in the supermarkets. I would be willing to convert to them. I think I'll check out any new types before trying them in future though!

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