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Baku in need of fish market

17 December 2015 10:00 (UTC+04:00)
Baku in need of fish market

By Nigar Orujova

The high quality protein, minerals and vitamins found in fish make it irreplaceable product of a daily diet. Fish, being important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which experts say are important to our overall health, are especially loved by people leaving near the sea.

The Caspian Sea, on the Western shores of which Azerbaijan is located, is home to about 141 other fish species. In addition, the sea is home to 80-85 percent of the world sturgeons. Rivers and other water basins of Azerbaijan are also rich of fish.

For decades, Azerbaijan was famous for its fish products and a special place in the national cuisine belongs to dishes prepared from fish.

Traditional Azerbaijani cuisine offers many receipts of cooking fish. One of the most delicious is Lavangi – fish stuffed with walnuts, onions, sweet and sour dried fruits. Having fish course on festive table is another tradition of the country.

As the New Year arrives, people are starting to prepare a menu for the holiday evening, and existence of fish market would have facilitated the task.

Although the country’s regions and the capital city have a number of shops and markets offering all kinds of fish, both consumers and sellers of fish believe that Baku needs a special market of fresh fish to make these healthy products more available.

Head of the Free Consumers Union Eyyub Huseynov, commenting on the issue, told local media that basically, all countries with access to the sea or the ocean have a special market for trading in fish and seafood.

“Turkey, South Africa, France, Georgia have similar markets,” he said. “These markets are open in the first half of the day, somewhere from 8 am to 12 pm. If such a market appears in our country, both buyers and sellers would benefit.”

In Baku, one can also see street seafood vendors, who have neither license for the fish sale nor they follow sanitary standards. Experts and doctors warn that such fish can do more harm rather than supporting your health.

Head of the Food Hygiene Department at the Republican Hygiene and Epidemiology Center of the Health Ministry Imran Abdullayev also believes that creation of the fish market in the capital would be very helpful.

“Here fish and fish products can be sold in accordance with relevant orders,” he told local media. “In addition, all the fish there would pass inspection, and the quality would cause no doubt.”

Abdullayev added that it needs to be an indoor market and meet health and hygiene regulations.

“Fish must be stored at an appropriate temperature, or it will quickly become unusable for food,” he noted. “Fish can be kept between 1 and 1.5 days at 6 C. If fish is frozen, it can be stored for 3-4 months, but if we are talking about a deep freeze, the shelf life can be up to a year.”

The supermarkets mainly sell frozen ocean fish, while the fresh fish can be found at local bazaars.

Abdullayev said that one can not say that it is not worth to buy fish at the market or bazaar, but customers should be very careful when buying it.

“Gills of the fresh fish are bright red, but the color will be lighter with the passing time. If fish is rotten, the gills are dark, almost black. Besides, the tainted fish has a peculiar smell that cannot be hidden by anything unlike the situation with the meat.

“Scale of the rotten fish can be easily separated, it almost falls. If you press slightly on the fish, and a dent appears, this means that the fish should not be bought,” the expert explains.

Asked about possibility of creating such a market in the capital city, Baku City Executive Power stated that they do not yet have any plan in this regard.

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