Interview with Mrs. Samita Jha

Interviewee: Samita Jha
Homemaker, 51, Mumbai
Q1- Why should fish be conserved / Why should KYF be used?
 I feel we are all connected with elements of nature. The ocean/marine ecosystem is the cradle of all life and needs to be conserved/protected as its own being, in its own right. An initiative such as KYF gives all of us an opportunity to contribute to rationalizing our demand on fish stocks and lessen pressure on certain endangered species. I quite admire the principle of KYF which doesn’t ask us to “not eat” seafood, but only “eat responsibly”. I see this as an extremely enabling principle in which the driving force is the person/consumer itself. Previously, due to a lack of reliable information, I rarely bought any seafood during the four monsoon months as a self-imposed measure under the impression that all fish species breed during these months. As KYF research review has shown, this is not entirely accurate and that there are fish that very well breed during different periods in the year, a fact clearly portrayed on the KYF calendar.
Q2- Any example in your experience of how the KYF chart helped in your seafood purchase decision?
 I am vegetarian on most days due to certain religious beliefs. On one of the days last month when I could have eaten non-vegetarian fare, of which seafood is my favourite, I was almost about to buy a kg of surmai (Kingfish)
to cook for dinner. At that moment, I glanced at the KYF calendar to see that May is not the best of time to consume surmai, so I happily refrained. Similarly, prawns are one of my favourites and a more frequently eaten
feature of my seafood palette. But when I was told that they are caught by practices likely to be very destructive to the marine ecosystem, for eg. by trawling, I have halved by prawn consumption since then.
Q3- What feelings do you have to share on being a ‘responsible’ seafood consumer?
 Thank you for referring to me as one! Yes, there is an immense feeling of satisfaction at being more careful about my seafood eating choices. As a homemaker, who is otherwise not seen as a ‘productive’ or independent member of the society, the feeling of having contributed, in a small manner, to the cause of the sustainability of our rapidly degrading marine ecosystem by ever so slightly modifying my food eating/purchasing habits is extremely gratifying.
We invite more people to share about what they feel and if and how ‘Know Your Fish’ has made any difference in the way they look at the oceans and how they choose their seafood.
Write us your story at knowyourfish.india@gmail.com and we would love to share your testimonial with everyone.