Is your snoek really a snoek?

2012-11-25 20:41


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Although snoek – a fish caught in the Western Cape’s cold waters – is one of the province’s most well-known delicacies, more than half this fish found in some retail chains in Cape Town are imported from New Zealand.

Snoek and New Zealand Barracouta are the same species, but the label “snoek” gives the impression the fish is locally caught.

Woolworths spokesperson Neeran Naidoo said: “We’d love to offer customers locally caught snoek. However, snoek is not caught in commercial quantities locally to ensure supplies through the year.

"Local commercial fishermen focus on other fish species.”

But senior lecturer and fisheries expert at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, Dr Moeniba Isaacs, disagrees.

“There is enough snoek caught in South Africa for Woolworths and Pick n Pay,” says Isaacs.

The Fishing Industry Handbook 2011 shows that in 2010, total snoek landed in South Africa was 10?292.609kgs – nearly 65% by informal line fishers, much of the rest by commercial hake trawlers – and the total Barracouta imported from New Zealand was 5?690.968kgs.

“The issue is with having ice at the landing site. There is a lack of investment in that cold chain. It is cheaper to buy imported snoek,” said Isaacs.

Even buying snoek from wholesaler and retailer Snoekies does not guarantee locally caught product.

Snoekies’ procurement director Marco Paioni said up to 70% of their snoek was imported barracouta from New Zealand, adding, “the two species are identical”.

“All our snoek is local, salted fresh and frozen,” said butchery general manager of Pick n Pay, George van Diggelen.

“We are not importing from New Zealand, there is enough local product. We buy from wholesalers.”

Pick n Pay buys its snoek through Snoek Wholesalers (Pty) Ltd.

When City Press spoke to Snoek Wholesalers the spokesperson confirmed the company supplied Pick n Pay but would not disclose where the snoek was caught.

“That is confidential information.”

But packaging labels on snoek bought in Pick n Pay state the fish come from New Zealand.

With snoek being a “traditionally and culturally important” part of South Africa since the 1600s, Isaacs argues that “snoek” should be a local, trademarked product name that can only be used for fish caught in local waters, much the same as champagne refers only to sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France.

“The labelling should be honest. If it is from New Zealand it should say barracouta.” – WCN

Read more on:    western cape  |  fish

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Thursday Delft - 05:49 AM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - right lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.