Fishes feature in the traditions of many cultures as symbols, such as symbols of prosperity, and as food in many traditional dishes.
However, high prices for fish, as well as other recent developments, may cause buyers to bite into other foods instead. ("CNY fish at $100 a kilo? Buyers still biting"; Feb 5).
One reason to reduce the consumption of fish is that modern, large-scale fishing practices are devastating fish populations worldwide.
Another recent development is that the seas where fishes live have become sewers for human waste.
As a result, humans may ingest many toxins when they consume fish.
A third reason to choose foods other than fish is that some recent research has suggested that the health benefits of fish consumption have been exaggerated.
Instead, plant foods might be better sources of the same nutrients. For instance, omega-3 may be more safely obtained from plant foods such as flaxseeds, soya beans, tofu and pumpkin.
Fourth, recent research provides reasons to believe that, like other animals, fishes too have intellect, experience emotions, form social ties and feel pain.
While not all scientists agree on this, perhaps for the health and environmental reasons stated above and for financial reasons, eating less or no fish may be a good tradition for our families to begin.
George Jacobs (Dr)
Vegetarian Society (Singapore)