14.11.2019 – A conscious choice
Our guests choose Lobosonda because of our responsible approach to the activity of whale-watching at sea. Since we acknowledge that our clients enjoy making conscious choices in whale-watching, we also like to encourage them to make sustainable choices elsewhere. Many of our guests enjoy eating fish and seafood but wish to do so in a conscious way. This is an approach we fully support and we wish to expand on by providing more information on this in future but, since this subject was addressed on board, here’s a brief introduction.
Like in most other islands or coastal regions, there is a season for several types of seafood and fish in Madeira. One of the most popular dishes, the fried Limpets known locally as Lapas, is a dish consisting of two limpet species; the White limpet (Patella aspera) and the darker coloured Common Limpet (Patella rustica). These coastal grazers are caught in season at the beginning of spring until November with a four month block in between to allow the populations to recover. While Lapas are best enjoyed fresh, it isn’t unwise to indulge in previously frozen Lapas since they are caught locally and wont go to waste. In summer the Dorada or Dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippunus), Deep-sea squid (Stenoteuthis pteropus) and Skipjack or Gaiado (Katsuwonus pelamis) are in season. This time of the year isn’t an ideal season for most fish species but is a good time for Red Snappers (Pagrus pagrus).
Making conscious choices doesn’t only involve what is good for the oceans but also what is good for you! Here it helps to understand more about the life cycle and preferred habitat of the species in question. The Black scabbard fish (Aphanopus carbo) is a deep-sea fish that is caught using long-lines and is absolutely saturated with heavy metals. The species is thought to engage in a clockwise migration through the Atlantic Ocean in the course of its life, with the most mature animals residing in the deep waters around Madeira which is one of their preferred spawning areas. The oldest animal on record was 14 years old and caught in Madeira. Since heavy metals cannot be metabolised, they bioaccumulate over time and up the food chain making long-lived top predators the most contaminated animals in the food chain.
So in a nutshell; eat seasonally, avoid eating animals that are top predators and that have a long life span and keep your fish consumption moderate. By doing so you are definitely doing the ocean and its magnificent inhabitants, like the Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) we saw today, a huge favour!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales