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There may be bigger fish to fry… but now small sprat are big on sustainability!

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The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has improved its rating of sprat from the Baltic Sea by giving it a green rating in the latest version of the charity’s Good Fish Guide published online last Friday at www.goodfishguide.org. It means they’re at their most sustainable for 20 years.

Sprat from the Baltic are now a ‘Best Choice’, with a rating of 1 meaning they can be consumed guilt free.

Bernadette Clarke, MCS Good Fish Guide Manager says: “We should be eating more oily fish like sprat, not only are they good for our health but sprat from the Baltic is now an environmentally friendly choice too. Sprat are a really nutritious, yet affordable, fish choice and although their appeal seems to have waned in recent years, this positive rating should see them getting back on restaurant menu in their own right.” 

But although it’s great news, it also raises some fundamental seafood questions – what exactly are sprat? Have I ever eaten them? Would I know a sprat if saw one?

Sprat (sprattus sprattus) belong to the same family as herrings and sardines. They’re small oily fish which contain omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be good for our heart health. On average sprat don’t mature until they’re about 11cm in length and only grow to about 16cm. A rough belly sets sprat apart from other similar small fish.

Cooked under a hot grill, served with pepper and a squeeze of lemon, you can eat them up, heads and all, without the need for a knife and fork. But you’re more likely to have had them under the catch-all term of ‘whitebait’.

Mature sprat are a more sustainable alternative to traditional mixed whitebait, which isn’t actually a specific species at all and (depending on where you are) can be a mixture of juvenile fish such as herring, sprat and sandeel, hence the longstanding confusion about sprat vs whitebait!

The latest version of the MCS Good Fish Guide has also seen improved ratings for Irish Sea cod, haddock and plaice and hand-lined pollack from the south west.

North Sea cod and haddock from North Sea, West of Scotland and Skagerrak have also seen improvements due to the latest stock assessments showing increases in biomass.

Haddock from the Irish Sea is now a green rated, ‘Best Choice’ due to an improving spawning stock biomass and declining fishing mortality and hand lined pollack from the south west is another ‘Best Choice’ option – this is great news as it’s a fantastic alternative to the go-to favourites of cod and haddock.

41% of fish stocks in the northeast Atlantic and waters around the UK however, are still being overfished and MCS says it’s vital that the public, chefs, retailers and fish buyers keep referring to the Good Fish Guide Fish website, the Pocket Good Fish Guide or the app version on iPhone or android, to ensure they have the most up-to-date sustainable seafood advice. MCS sustainable seafood work is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

For more information about sustainable seafood or to download the app please visit: www.goodfishguide.org

Equipment

Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock

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Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.

Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:

• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket

F1 LT Yellow RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2207.xx 

F1 LT White RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2211.xx 

For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.

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Diving with…. Luke Inman, Cortez Expeditions

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…

What is your name?

Luke Inman 

What is the name of your business?

Cortez Expeditions

What is your role within the business?

Owner/Operator & PADI Course Director, Trimix IT

How long has the business operated for?

8 Years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

Diving since 1993, Professional Diver since 1996, Instructor Trainer since 2001.

PADI Course Director
PADI Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer
Divers Alert Network (DAN) IT
TDI · IANTD · RAID Technical Instructor
HSE Commercial Diver Part III

What is your favorite type of diving?

All Diving! Love teaching Open Water all the way through to Divemaster and Instructor course, but my absolute favourite is diving with Sea Lions in La Paz. Like jumping into a bath tub with Labrador puppies.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We have an exclusive adventure boutique, we offer Scuba training from basic open water through to technical divingWe are the only 5 Star PADI IDC Dive Center in La Paz and teach PADI courses to instructor level.
We offer DAN & TDI courses, support for film crews, scientists and CCR divers.

​We are renowned for our expeditions, photo & video workshops. We keep our boat to a maximum of 4 or 6 divers ensuring your experience and interactions are intimate and breath taking.

We have Fourth Element & Apeks equipment in our rental fleet and we include computers.

We pride ourselves is being a sustainability leader. Ensuring no single use plastic is used on our boat and our dive practices have no negative effect on the environment. Read about us on Trip Advisor. Cortez Expeditions are the experts on The Sea of Cortez. With over 20 years of experience living and working in La Paz, Cortez Expeditions are not just the exclusive boutique dive centre, they are the chosen expedition leaders and logistic experts for institutions like The BBC Natural History Unit, Netflix, Disney, National Geographic Society & Television.

In 2018 we provided production support for Netflix “Our Planet”. In 2019 and 2020 Cortez Expeditions completed the safety and logistics for The BBC’s upcoming Planet Earth 3 Series and National Geographic America Series.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Los Islotes the sea lion colony. This is the main reason many scuba divers visit La Paz. We are proud at Cortez Expeditions to be able to say we “wrote the book on Los Islotes”. Our owner and course director Luke Inman published the award winning book “Los Islotes – The Jewel of Espritu Santo”.

 

Los Islotes is the jewel of the protected area and marine reserve. There are very few locations in the world so close to a big city that allow for wild animal interactions like Los Islotes.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We teach everything from open water to instructor and tec diving with hypoxic trimix. There is something for everyone, but we are most famous for the big stuff…large pelagics that hang out at sea mounts and in open ocean like the mobulas.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Being a mentor and teacher, I enjoy training all people, giving back to the ocean and to the community. My goal as a teacher is to have students eclipse my achievements. I want students to be better than me.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Can I give you a top five? Sea Lion, Orca, Octopus, Giant Manta, Sea Otter.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We are in the process of becoming a Career Development Center for PADI and will be offering nitrox  in all our dives and courses.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Like any tourism business the effect of COVID has reduced us down to 10-20% capacity.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We don’t like the expression “Eco-Tourism”, too many business use the term and in reality they are simply not eco orientated. We strive to be constantly sustainable in our practices. It is always evolving.

Since our inception 8 years ago, donating our time and resources has become an important part of our strategy to be active in our community. We constantly endeavour to ensure we are improving and ensuring our practices are sustainable.

We decided the best way to enrich our community was to give back doing what we do best. We do diver training very well. We are currently the number one listed PADI dive centre on Trip Advisor, we complete more recreational, technical and professional certification than any other dive centre in La Paz.

Every October we open our Scholarship Program. The program is open to local undergraduate and post graduates in La Paz that need scuba training to complete their Tourism or Scientific Studies.

The application process will be from 1st October to 31 January 2021. With awards being given in First Quarter of 2021.

There are Six Scholarships available for 2021.

The scholarships are as follows:

  1. PADI Open Water through to PADI Rescue
  2. Technical Diver Training
  3. Divemaster Training

We will choose two candidates for each Scholarship (Male and Female)
Applicants must meet the prerequisites to enrol on the respective courses. The other prerequisites are:

  • Be a legal resident of Mexico (Mexican or with legal immigration status)
  • ​Be 18 years old
  • Currently studying at UABCS, CICIMAR, CIBNOR
  • Prove Scuba Diving is essential to their studies – Tourism, Marine Research
  • Be in the final part of studies.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

Where do I start….? LOL that is a big question!

I see the industry is making some good choices in becoming more sustainable, but it is slow.

The industry needs to start being more business-like and pay its staff a living wage.

We strive and ensure all our staff are paid a good wage to make diving a sensible and good option to other careers.

We need to see more women in diving. Women make better divers than men for a number of reasons.

I would like to see every dive agency ensure every student receives a course quality questionnaire. Once the student has completed the quality questionnaire the certification is issued, not before.

Diving is not a volume business, it is service and training based. For some reason many business owners price structure is based on volume. We need to base pricing on our time and effort.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We have small groups and Sea lions…….

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.cortezexpeditions.com

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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