Whitebait?

Old Jul 12, 16, 4:00 pm
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Whitebait?

I was at a nice pub in Kent last week with my mom and her Irish partner. He ordered a plate of "whitebait". He loved them and said it's an old school favorite. They were deep fried. Herring?
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Old Jul 12, 16, 5:01 pm
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Moving to the DiningBuzz forum... /JY1024, TravelBuzz co-moderator
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Old Jul 12, 16, 6:38 pm
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Whitebait

Given that UK and imported whitebait still consists of immature herring, sprat, sardines, mackerel, bass and many others, it is not an ecologically viable foodstuff. Removing these fish at such a juvenile stage, before they have had a chance to grow and reproduce, might severely reduce future fish stocks. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a non-government organisation that provides independent information on the sustainability of fish stocks and species around the world, and has a rating system for fish sustainability, in order to safeguard future stocks [2]. The MCS suggests avoiding eating and purchasing the juvenile whitebait as it is detrimental to sustainable fish populations.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
Interesting!

Thanks for the info.
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Old Jul 12, 16, 11:20 pm
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I have a rule to not eat anything that is referred to as "bait". Bait is what is used to catch real food.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 1:19 am
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Whitebait fritters are fantastic.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
Interesting that this article says it's not sustainable. What is that centuries old American past time of being up in the middle of the night and going to the local river to net fish? Are those anchovies? Herring? Is that sustainable?
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Old Jul 13, 16, 1:16 pm
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Old Jul 13, 16, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by corky View Post
I have a rule to not eat anything that is referred to as "bait". Bait is what is used to catch real food.
I wonder about that when I buy live shrimp for bait and it costs so much less than the ones in the supermarket. But for some reason I can't bring myself to cook, clean and eat them.

White bait, OTOH, what's in a name?

I found them on a pub menu in Devon one time as "Blanc Bait". I asked my dining companion and he said the pub was putting on airs.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
How is this any different than eating eggs vs. chicken?
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Old Jul 13, 16, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by BamaVol View Post
How is this any different than eating eggs vs. chicken?
I think part of the answer is in that disgusting photo you posted. They look like maggots. Call me fussy.
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Old Jul 13, 16, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by BamaVol View Post
How is this any different than eating eggs vs. chicken?
If you're looking for a serious answer...

Whitebait are apparently harvested in such a way that they deplete the stock that eventually grows into actual fish, meaning a depopulation of same.

Chickens are raised specifically to produce eggs (and eventually wonderful chicken soup) without compromising the availability of other chickens that are bred to become KFC. As far as I know, there is no chicken shortage at the moment.
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Old Jul 14, 16, 6:58 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
What is that centuries old American past time of being up in the middle of the night and going to the local river to net fish? Are those anchovies? Herring? Is that sustainable?
anchovies & herring are salt water fish.

I think you are referring to smelt.

I've only seem them netted along the shores of Lake Michigan.
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Old Jul 14, 16, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
anchovies & herring are salt water fish.

I think you are referring to smelt.

I've only seem them netted along the shores of Lake Michigan.
I thought herring spawned in fresh water. I used to fish for shad in the Connecticut river and feel like I saw almost as many herring as shad.

Neither could be legally netted although I can understand the temptation. They're not very interested in feeding when all they're thinking about it reproducing. You watch hundreds, thousands even, of fish swimming under the boat without a single bite. Shad darts are said to provoke strikes out of annoyance rather than hunger. I can't say I ever saw anyone catch a herring, if that's what they were.

I looked and they are blueback herring. They spawn in fresh water and are endangered. The count at the fish elevator went from a high of 600,000 to a low of 21 in 2006. Eek!

Last edited by BamaVol; Jul 14, 16 at 12:27 pm
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Old Jul 14, 16, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
I was at a nice pub in Kent last week with my mom and her Irish partner. He ordered a plate of "whitebait". He loved them and said it's an old school favorite. They were deep fried. Herring?
I absolutely love them.
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