On Tuesday, 25 June 2019, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) launched a first of its kind cookbook in Fiji, Kusima Mada, designed to promote sustainable seafood.
The launch was officiated by the Honourable Minister for Fisheries, Mr Semi Koroilavesau at Governor’s Restaurant in Knolly Street, Suva.
The cookbook was written in collaboration with Australian Chef, Jason Allport, who designed original mouthwatering recipes using a range of locally-sourced seafood and produce. Only species currently thought to be sustainable are included in the cookbook. The cookbook features over 80 recipes organized in terms of the habitats the species are found, from rivers, mangroves, coral reefs to the open ocean. What is also unique is the way the book uses vibrant photography to showcase women in the fisheries sector.
Mr Koroilavesau said the Ministry is proud to be part of the launch of the cookbook that encouraged consumers to make smart seafood choices, while contributing to keeping Fiji’s fisheries healthy.
“The collective role that we have now is to ensure that we continue to access our shared resources without depleting the productivity of these resources and the precious aquatic environment in which they dwell on,” Mr Koroilavesau said.
The Director for Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji, Dr Sangeeta Mangubhai said the cookbook recognized the myriad of roles local women play in coastal fisheries and their contributions to food security and livelihoods, and to the larger national economy.
“Local women fishers significantly contribute to household protein requirements and income but their contributions are often ‘invisible’ or undervalued. The evening of launch was therefore dedicated to our women in fisheries to make them more ‘visible’,” Dr Mangubhai said
She stated collaborative efforts were needed by researchers and policy-makers to ensure women in the fisheries sector are provided with support they need to sustain local fisheries and become active in fisheries planning, management and other key decision-making processes.
Kusima Mada was also designed to inspire new menus and as well as some methods to promote sustainable seafood choices by consumers and protection of local fisheries including compliance with the current size limits for fish and invertebrates in Fiji.
The cookbook contributes to the efforts of the Ministry of Fisheries to conserve the local fisheries through its ongoing campaigns such as “Set Size Campaign” and seasonal ban on grouper fishes, Kawakawa and Donu.
Dr Mangubhai hopes the cookbook inspires readers and make them think differently about the seafood that people consume and the actions people can take, to ensure local fisheries remain healthy and continue to provide for all.