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Jun 13, 2011

150 samples of grouper and snapper fillet, is anything but

The next news item is not about the power for your home, but more purchasing power for the seafood prepared in your kitchen. The price of fillet averages about ten dollars and up depending on the type of fish you buy. But students of business learn early on that the term Caveat Emptor means let the buyer beware. And though that caveat is not visible when buying at the fish market or even at a co-op, perhaps it should be posted in bold letters wherever fillet is sold. While doing a research on a fish specie, a graduate student collected over one hundred and fifty samples of fillet, purported to be either Snapper or Grouper, all bought at supermarkets and cooperatives near you. Can you guess how much of the samples were actually Snapper or Grouper? The answer is none.

Courtney Cox, PHD Student, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

“Another interesting result that came out of my work is that the people of Belize may not be eating the fish they think they are. I’ve analyzed over a hundred and fifty samples of fillets throughout the entire country—all which were sold to me as snapper or grouper. And I did not find any snapper or grouper through my genetic analysis. What I found those fillets included cobia, snook, hogfish, trigger fish, even gato.”

Jose Sanchez

“This is fish you found in supermarkets or fish from the fishermen that sell in the fish markets?”

Courtney Cox

“This was fish that were sold in the fish markets, co-ops, supermarkets and in restaurants.”

Jose Sanchez

“So, how have we been duped? Do we need to buy it whole?”

Courtney Cox

“That would be the safest way to know what you are actually eating—to buy it whole. My original project was focused on accessing whether fishermen were still catching parrot fish after the ban on all harvesting of parrot fish was implemented in May of 2009 which banned all the harvesting of parrot fish throughout all the waters in Belize. This was an extremely progressive move by Belize and they are one of the only countries in the world to do this kind of thing. And it is so important because there has been a decline in coral health throughout the entire Caribbean including in the Belizean barrier reef and the parrot fish are of vital importance to the health of the reef. My research has shown very encouraging results. I collected data in 2009 and 2010 and my results are showing that parrot fish being sold in markets has decreased over that year and the parrot fish that are swimming in the reef has increased. So this is very encouraging and it shows that the fishermen in Belize are doing a good job at complying with this law. The parrot fish are still being sold in the markets, but to a lesser degree than they were before the ban was implemented.”

Courtney Cox, the PH.D. Candidate from the University of North Carolina, is interested in collecting and analyzing more samples in Belize. She is asking for help from Belizeans who sell fillet, to provide her with samples that she will have analyzed to see if it’s the fish they actually bought. As a bonus for cooperation, Healthy Reef Initiative will also provide a free t-shirt for anyone that provides fillet samples. For the next few weeks, Cox can be reached at 627-8737.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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11 Responses for “150 samples of grouper and snapper fillet, is anything but”

  1. Storm says:

    Most countries have laws against false advertising, often called Unfair Business Practice.

    I think some smart politician needs to study those laws, and write one for Belize.

    It’s theft under false pretences. Maybe DPP will send some supermarket or restaurant owner to jail as an example.

  2. Ocaso says:

    It’s not just the fillet we’re being hoodwinked on. We have all had the unproven suspicion that the “chicken” in our chow mien and fried rice was a bit too chewy to have come from a bird. Talk to the fishermen and people from the Belize River Valley and they can tell you that habitat loss isn’t the only reason for crocodiles becoming rarer if you know what I mean.

  3. Benqueno says:

    What the hell were we eating all the while!!!!!….MG…”Gato”!!!!! Misses COX why didn’t you mentioned the uneatable ones?????….What about fish with “Mercury”????….i wonder why i always complained about the fish i am eating….these f****Fisherman own me some change….

  4. Gotcha says:

    how many a unuh mi di eet kaato an say e nice???

  5. Belize Cow says:

    At least I know my fry-dry dah crana and tuba

  6. RedBwai says:

    Unu Belize City people the eat up deh same fish right weh deh ketch outa deh kennel yer an trust mi….dah some big fish live ina deh kennel lol….

  7. signs of the times says:

    you me think only the gas people scurvy, imagine caato fu ten dollars a pound!!

  8. LARGE AND SEXY says:

    WHAT NEXT!!!!!!!

  9. Elgin Martinez says:

    Things like these are going to continue happen because we as Belizeans accepts any and every thing.Not only are we afraid to ask the hard questions.We also don’t want to change our way of think.Why do we need a PHD student from NC to educate us on simple things like these.If our laws were enforced and people in the fishery department were doing their jobs all these unlawful practices could have been detected.

  10. snap says:

    In channel 7 interview Ms Cox says she found a few grouper samples among 150 tested fillets and here she says she found none. Interesting.

  11. RedBwai says:

    As it typically is…we Belizeans always getting puss ina bag…..too much con artist lurking around thinking they can put one over on the Belizean people… weh the man on the CCV commercial said…”sleep wid yo own eyes..”

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