After Portugal (where about half the total fish consumption is dried codfish)
So, yes, I was wrong - codfish isn't half of the Portuguese fish consumption. It's two thirds of it.
Victor: let's keep to what you said and the data you presented to back it up, shall we? This way it will be easier for you to understand, as I refuse to believe you're being deliberately dishonest.
First, you said 50%(i.e. 1 of every 2 kilos) of fish consumed by Portugal was "dried codfish". Then, after having consulted your data again, you revised it to claim that 2 out of every 3 kilos are "codfish". Please note the discrepancy between the two claims. The first refers to "dried codfish" (i.e. bacalhau). The second to just "codfish". This is important because, in our debate on the matter, I was debating your first claim. Your second claim was made after my rebuttals. In Portugal, we don't eat fresh codfish - only dried, salted codfish - so obviously, it's salted codfish that is relevant to what we consume.
Leaving aside all other data, I'll continue to use the study you linked to, from which you got your figures.
this very serious Dutch study. (Dutch, not Spanish. Spain left the Netherlands centuries ago.)
I never said it was Spanish - it was clearly presented by you as Dutch and the study itself clearly identifies itself as Dutch. Neither did I say it wasn't serious - only incomplete, as the study itself honestly acknowledges. But I'm glad you regard it as very serious, as I shall be using its data to show you, once and for all, how it fails to back up your claims of 50% consumption of salted codfish.
In it, one can clearly see yearly consumption of fish per capita in 2000 by the Portuguese, summarized, species by species. 8.3 kilos of dried cod, but with a note pointing out that due to the "value of consumption of cod using the equivalent live weight for 1999, following the methodology used by FAO", that figure must be changed, into the equivalent of 30.1 kilos of live codfish. All other categories of (fresh) fish and shellfish total 20.06 kilos per capita per year. So, total consumption, about 50 kilos. A lot.
I'll use your own summary first. If our total consumption is "about 50 kilos" and we consume 8.3 salted cod, then all you have to do is to divide the total (50) by the number of kilos of salt cod (8,3) to come to the conclusion that salt cod actually accounts for one-sixth
of total fish consumption, since 8,3 times 6 is 49,8.
I think we've established that it's not half (which is 3/6) . Therefore, your claim was actually three times greater than the data allowed. That's 300% over.
However, if you look at figure 9.2 (the one you suggested I read), you'll find that the actual figure quoted is 58 kilos . Your "about 50 kilos" would be more correctly rounded up to "about 60 kilos", but let's stick to the actual figures. What the study says is "Portugal is one of the top world seafood consumers with an estimate of 58 kgs seafood consumption per capita (FAO, 1999)."
Since the actual salt cod consumption they use is 8.28 kgs
and the 1999 (not 2000, as you said, btw) FAO estimate is 58 kgs
, salt cod actually represents a neat one-seventh
of total seafood consumed, since 7 times 8.28 is 57.96. That is, 14.3%. A big difference from your 50% claim, you'll agree.
The fact that the FAO methodology chooses to multiply salt cod consumption by a factor of 3 to even out calculation of fresh fish consumed has nothing to do with it, since what Portugal consumes is salt cod ("bacalhau"), not fresh codfish. In any case, we're discussing your own
about half the total fish consumption is dried codfish
In your second claim, you were inconsistent. Your original claim was about dried codfish
but somehow the crucial "dried" part got lost in your second claim:
So, yes, I was wrong - codfish isn't half of the Portuguese fish consumption. It's two thirds of it
I was, of course, disputing your first claim. With the second, revised claim I may even agree, if I chose to accept the FAO methodology. But since the codfish we consume is all salted cod, it's hardly relevant.
FAO uses this methodology because it's interested in the total quantity of fish consumed before it's processed (as well it should, if it wants to keep track on general exploitation of ocean resources) and it calculates that it takes 3 kilos of fresh codfish (weighed whole as it is landed) to make 1 kilo of salt cod.
With this in mind, the Dutch study says:
"The Portuguese seafood consumption per capita (kgs/year) depends substantially on how cod is included in the estimate. As an example
, between 1992-94
the Portuguese seafood consumption per capita was 37.4 kgs if cod was included as dried fish. However, if it is was converted to fresh codfish (which is the normal procedure in FAO), then the Portuguese seafood consumption per capita would be 61.6 kgs/year."
Please note, for the sake of accuracy, that if we accept FAO's calculations - which obviously produce a far higher total seafood consumption - then the actual amount of salt cod consumed as a percentage of the total goes significantly down
Your claim of 50%, of course, referred to consumption of salted cod - i.e. what we buy and eat - so let's not veer off track, though the Dutch study does also say, after recording that the figures they chose to use
- the ones I've been using exclusively - would be different if FAO's methodology had been used, that a wholly different set of figures would be obtained if another equally noteworthy methodology had been used:
"Another important factor that should be considered is edible consumption (...) If the gross total for 1992-94 were used, then it would be 37.4 (...) However, if only the edible portion (the weight of the product which may be consumed entirely as food) is considered, we would have a [total seafood consumption] of 24.8
. According to our information's (sic
), the total seafood consumption per capita statistics elaborated by FAO take into consideration only gross consumption."
(All quotes from pages 33 and 34 of the study you linked to, figures 9.1 and 9.2; all emphases mine)
I shall not comment on your personal remarks as eGullet deserves to be spared that kind of stuff. I have carefully shown you, beyond dispute, that your claim that 50% of the fish consumed in Portugal is salted cod is wrong. I have used only the data used by the serious Dutch study you linked to in order to back up your claim. I have used it fairly and almost fully and, even though it wasn't pertinent to my rebuttals of your initial 50% claim, I have considered the FAO methodology you cited in your second, revised claim; even overlooking the fact that you changed your original claim, which referred to salted cod, not to just to generic codfish.
I established that the actual figure for salted cod consumption, using the figures from the study you referred to, is not 50% but 14.3 %
. Moreover - though, again, it was not pertinent to the claim being discussed - I've showed that, if the FAO methodology is used, then the figure for salt cod consumption as a percentage of total seafood consumption would be dramatically lower, as the total is inflated by multiplying salt cod consumption (what Portugal consumes) by 3, in order to obtain an equivalent figure for fresh codfish, allowing for multi-national comparisons with countries which consume mainly fresh cod (such as the UK). It is a statistical distortion, with no bearing whatsoever on things gastronomical. FAO's own figures for salt cod consumption in Portugal are obviously no different from those used by the Dutch study.
However, I think it's fair to suggest that even a casual visitor to Portugal who goes to a dozen or so restaurants would easily conclude that, even by the most cursory glance at all the fish he saw on menus and being eaten by fellow diners, it's plainly not true that every second fish dish we eat is "bacalhau". We do eat a lot of bacalhau - one in seven is astronomical, which is more than enough to explain why we eat more of the delicious salted cod than any other country.
I took the trouble to go through the figures precisely because on the Spain and Portugal forum, it's surely interesting to know how much fresh fish and how much salted cod is consumed in Portugal and Spain and it would have been a pity if this information and discussion had been obscured by extraneous personal remarks. Since it's a gastronomical forum, it's obvious that what matters is what people eat and how they eat it. Like Spain, Italy and France, we Portuguese do enjoy our "bacalhauzinho" - but it must be salted and dried!
The actual amount of codfish - weighed whole, with everything - is as relevant, say, as the total weight of all the plants needed to extract saffron is to Spanish consumption. For every gram of precious saffron consumed, how many plant grams are thrown away? How funny saffron consumption statistics would be if, total weight being considered, every Spaniard was shown to consume ten kilos of saffron a year? In gastronomy, what matters is the final form of each ingredient and how it's cooked. Bacalhau is very important to Portuguese gastronomical culture and, for this reason, I felt it necessary to correct your wild over-estimation. I hope this will be the last we hear of this.
Edited by MiguelCardoso, 07 December 2004 - 01:10 AM.