Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 27, 2005 12:59 PM

Asian fish from aftermath of tsunami

  • e

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Top hotels in several Asian capitals have stopped ordering sea bass and sole from waters off their tsunami- ravaged coastlines to ease diners' concerns about fish feasting on corpses.

***Has anyone else seen this- I am not a fish expert- is this a possibility or a myth in the making? We buy much of our fish at Trader Joe's- which is mostly from Asian waters. The idea of this really bothers me.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are lots of fish in the water, and relativly speaking, not that many bodies from the Tsunami (as horrific as it was). I wouldn't worry about it. This is just conjecture, but in the areas where people were killed, I'm sure that most of the fishing boats were destroyed as well.

    1. From what I have understood regarding this issue is that the local people in those areas are not eating fish out of fear of catching diseases from eating fish that may have been feeding on corpses. I wouldn't sweat it - it is highly unlikely. A great majority of the fish we eat everyday feed regularly on "detritus", this would include catfish, fluke, flounder, halibut (all bottom dwelling fish), lobsters, crabs, shrimp and snails to name a few. Detritus, in the biological sense, is defined as "Undissolved organic matter resulting from the decomposition of parent material" or rotting tissue from decomposing plant/amnimal sources. While these fish may not dine on detritus exclusively, there are few fish in the sea that would pass up an easy meal like a dead fish/mammal. In fact, in an environment as competetive as the ocean, little goes to waste and dead fish/mammals are quickly devoured by others.

      2 Replies
      1. re: EAF

        i agree with your comments. i think it's a bigger deal to catch a disease from seafood that have been feeding on putrefied flesh (think mad cow) than the THOUGHT of ingesting seafood that MAY have consumed dead bodies. After all, nothing stopped the german tourists that were swimming in the waters after the tsunami aftermath.

        1. re: melissa

          Just don't want to ruin that vacation. Would have been too much effort to go help someone rebuild their home.

      2. I had relatives in Hawaii who wouldn't eat crabs after December 7, 1941.

        1. This might be a thread better suited for the International or General Topics boards.

          Nevertheless, I'll chime in with my experience last weekend in Hua Hin, a resort town a few hours south of Bangkok, on the Gulf of Siam. As we sat down to eat at a seafood restaurant, the cook came out to assure us that none of the fish on the menu had been taken from the Indian Ocean.

          The Thais I was with laughed (a curious, but common Thai habit when faced with something horrific), and joked that the reason a lot of Thais perished was that when the waters first receded, they went out to gather as much delicious fresh seafood as they could. Food is important here.