An analysis of fish consumption in Winnipeg with identification of potential niche markets for freshwater fish species native to Manitoba

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Larish, Penny Mae
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Fisheries in crisis.... this has been a threat often faced in recent times by inland and marine fisheries. This study assessed the nature and quantity of native and other fish species consumption by Winnipeg residents to isolate not only consumption and purchase patterns, but also factors which may influence fish consumption. Data was collected by a probability sampling of Winnipeg households using a telephone survey. A questionnaire pertained to estimates of consumption and queried attitudes about fish, sources from which fish are procured and factors which might be influential in fish purchase and consumption patterns. The findings revealed annual consumption generalized to the City of Winnipeg ranged from 5.8 to 9.2 million kilograms of fish, of which 3.6 million kilograms were freshwater species. On an annual per capita basis, total consumption of fish ranged from 9 to 15 kilograms (20 to 33 pounds). Of this amount, 6 kilograms (13 pounds) were freshwater fish consumed, which is 32 times more fish than estimated for an average Canadian by published sources. Freshwater fish were consumed almost half the time and pickerel was more than three times as likely to be the species consumed than any other species of freshwater fish. Fish consumption was almost unilaterally considered by respondents to be a healthy source of protein, mainly obtained from supermarkets and subject to ethnic influences. Conclusions indicated potential niche markets in ethnic and health conscious groups. The study found concurrent high utilization (consumption) of pickerel and underutilization of other native Manitoba fish species.