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Andrew Maxwell

Spiced Mackerel with Lime and Coriander

I sit at my computer writing this column the day after my brother's stag weekend. Aching, tired and in the knowledge that I have just experienced quite possibly the largest weekend of my life. Staggy (who spent the weekend dressed up as Morph) rolled his stock car in a dramatic moment of laddish glory. Best man got an ASBO and a 24 hour ban from Bristol city centre and there was the usual array of street brawls and establishments of a more 'gentlemanly' nature which all combine to mean a technically perfect stag weekend.
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Spiced Mackerel with Lime and Coriander But now, I have to grow up and get back to a degree of seriousness and professionalism, which is more than I can say for one of my fellow columnists in this magazine. I like to think that I have always been utterly professional in writing this column for Tanked Up. I recently read an article written by a dive buddy of mine, about me, which was not only slanderous, it was born from the spawn of the devil. I believe it was some garbage about me trying to drown her, but ultimately being taken out myself by the dive guide? No evidence was published in support of this terrible accusation.

Well, not being one to let my reputation be so blatantly abused, I think it is only right that I have my say. And 'my say' (which in this instance I will spell 'revenge') is going to be served up very, very cold. Not only that, but in a lesson to my fellow journalist, it will be served up with a side order of EVIDENCE.

On that note, please take a close look at this picture of my fellow columnist, a diver with: hundreds of dives under their belt; an advanced trimix diver; and an IANTD cave diver; breathing off the guide's octopus having run out of air on the first dive of the holiday... Booya!

On to more topical items now.

Ten days ago (for your reference I am writing this on the 29th March 2010) the Governments of a number of developed countries had the opportunity to bring bluefin tuna back from the brink of extinction. They failed.
It was at the meeting of the United Nations organisation known as CITES, (Convention for the Trade of Endangered Species) that a hundred and seventy-five countries were discussing the fate of the species, and yet the country who has the largest commercial interest in bluefin tuna was allowed to undermine the vote which would have seen the species protected under Appendix 1. That's right, one country undermined the entire vote.

CITES has come out in favour of a full ban on bluefin tuna fishing with increasing support from Governments around the world, and although the two week conference was debating a total of forty-two different proposals (including the ivory trade) there were two proposals which were always going to be more contentious the protection of tuna and sharks.

What happened at the conference was that the Japanese used a procedural trick to limit the discussion on this topic to just ninety minutes, and effective lobbying meant that country after country stood up to demand that bluefin fishing should be controlled by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) rather than being banned outright.

The problem with this is that ICCAT is the organisation which has commissioned its own scientists to advise on what levels to set the quotas at to allow the species to survive, and has then ignored the advice of its own scientists a point that was highlighted in the documentary "End of the Line".

Do we think that perhaps the directors of ICCAT might be quite partial to a bit of sushi? Or maybe have interests in the Japanese markets? Who knows, and I am certainly not making any accusations (I hear that the Japanese triad gangs can kill a man just by thinking about him).

The outcome of the CITES conference was that not only was bluefin refused protection, but no less than seven vulnerable shark species, polar bears, and two types of coral were also refused protection. Shocking isn't it?

Spiced Mackerel with lime and coriander

Serves 4

Mackerel is a fish that if sourced well, is very sustainable. Any fish from the south west of England, or around Hastings will most likely be from sustainable stock, but avoid fish which is from large pelagic trawlers, as this is less sustainable. It is available all year round.

This recipe is a great way of serving mackerel. The saying goes that "the sun should never set on a mackerel once it has been caught", meaning it should be eaten within a day. Fresh mackerel is simply one of the most stunning fish you can buy and it is also very good for you, being rich in omega 3 oils.
Serve this mackerel with spiced potato wedges and a crisp green salad, or with cous cous. It is also great barbequed.
  • 4 small mackerel, approx 100g each
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 sprigs coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 lime
  • Large pinch cayenne
  • 1 tsp cumin


Ask your fishmonger to bone the mackerel, but to leave it whole, as we have done here, or even fillet it completely if you prefer.

Mix together the oil, spices, garlic, 1 sprig of coriander roughly chopped, and the rind and juice of half the lime, reserve the other half for garnish.

Score the surface of the fish in 3 places and brush inside and out with the marinade. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To cook, grease a grill pan and preheat the grill. Brush the fish again ensuring all the marinade is used and cook for approximately 7 minutes each side, turning once.

Serve garnished with lime and coriander.
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