SO WHY DOESN'T EVERYBODY SELL FROZEN FISH?
Well, they do, although they would like you to think it was fresh. Just read the label on tray-packed “chilled” fish in most supermarkets. Almost always, you’ll find that it was previously frozen and has been defrosted for sale. Frankly, this is madness. Fish is at its best when handled as little as possible. Defrosting and repacking it as an intermediate stage between initial freezing and you buying it doesn’t make sense at all. It only caters to that old belief that fresh fish is superior to frozen.
WHAT DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF FISH?
Quality is determined by when, where and how the fish is caught, and how it is looked after between catching and delivery to your door.
These days, quality is determined by when, where and how the fish is caught, and how it is looked after between catching and delivery to your door. A good fresh fish display looks wonderful, but it takes its toll on the fish. Exposure to the air degrades fish. Everyone knows how tired the display can look at the end of the day. Some of the best fish is caught by specialised vessels which freeze their catch on board within hours. Our hook and line caught Tuna is are flash frozen to -60ºc after being caught, this demands a much higher price compared to tuna landed and processed ashore. This is because it is are superior.
WHY IS FRESH FISH OFTEN CONSIDERED SUPERIOR TO FROZEN?
It’s not because the fish was frozen. It was because the fish was inferior when frozen.
Until approximately 40 years ago, most fish in South Africa were caught by large trawlers which would undertake three week voyages to fishing grounds. Coastal waters were fished by smaller vessels which were back in port within a few days. These always had the best fish, because the fresher the fish at the point of landing, the better the quality, but today the majority of this catch struggles to reach the average person in and around the city quickly. When commercial freezing was introduced, it was applied to the cheaper fish from the longer voyages. Frozen soon began to mean inferior.This reputation was largely justified, and it stuck. But it was not because the fish was frozen. It was because it was inferior when frozen.