Hoki or whip tail is a small, and well, ugly, fish found in the deep waters of the Pacific around New Zealand. Though small, it equates to big business and fishing of this fish with the big eyes has been immense over the last few years. Hoki is cheap and tasty and is often made into filet of fish or sushi. McDonald’s buys staggering amounts of it.
Now there is a global interest in this little fish due to the fact that New Zealand has cut the allowable catch to 275,000 tons in 2000/2001 to just 100,000 tones in 2007/2008. It has been under the radar for the last few years, but now the World Wildlife Fund is monitoring the New Zealand Fisheries.
These fish have been fished on an industrial level, in a similar way to the Orange Roughy. Many American chains such as McDonalds, Denny’s and Long John Silver’s are using it, often with consumers being clueless to what they are eating, assuming it to be cod.
Due to the recent controversy that the fishing is not sustainable, the food chains have reduced purchases to hopefully salvage a good outcome. The steps to reduce quotas are a good sign and may protect the fish population.
As a consumer its important to look for fresh and sustainable fish, and better still to know the name of the fish you are eating! It is far too common for people to be unknowingly consuming a low-quality and unhealthy fish, while assuming it is just as healthy as true wild seafood.