Poor cordonniers

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In the early days of last week there was a press report that hungry sharks had a go at small ‘cordonniers’ which were in a fishing cage in an area of the lagoon earmarked for oyster cultivation. For those who are not in the ‘fi shy’ line, it may be important to know how organized the fish nomenclature is in our ‘plaisir’ country. Before I do that, let me express my doubt about the desperate dash for food by the sharks for the caged ‘cordonniers’.

The fish species that goes under the name ‘cordonnier’ is among the lowest on the fi sh hierarchy. Or maybe the cordonnier ranks on a par with the ‘maquereau’. I am not, however, aware whether shoes which are close to the ground have something to do with the name. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to look at the names of other species. They are, grosso modo, capitaine, dorade (el dorado), vielle rouge or grise, empereur and others that are not relevant for this ‘billet’. These species rank very high on the culinary scale. There are some varieties which seem to have been given a name by those responsible for that chore when they were washed out. That was how the ‘sap sap’ was born. Maybe this species was simply trying to escape the fishing net. Not much effort went into finding a scientific basis for the names but it is unfortunate in the world which we inhabit that everything has to be given a name. All the same I cannot overlook a fish which is called the ‘sacrechien’. Rest assured that it is a fish and not a dog, let alone a sacred one. If you happen to be a shark, a real one that is the king of the oceans and not a two-legged shark, surely you are not going to attack a cage to have a bite at the low cordonnier. Whatever people who profess to be experts have to say about the level of catches in our lagoons- and you will notice that such statements are made around the New Year festive season which heralds a price hike, sharks have plenty of fish to choose from.

How unlikely therefore that sharks should have preferred the species that give people nightmares unless, of course, sharks are immune from such human afflictions. But the issue is this one: if it is most improbable that the sharks were responsible for the loss of the young cordonniers, then other sharks must have had a go. In our country, sharks in the seas are rarely seen but we can safely assume that they are there although not as frequently seen as the sharks in our sister island, Reunion. Or do we have another species of sharks who go on foot, yes, the two-legged ones.

Mauritius being pleasurable, we have a tendency to have shortlived memories. Just like the very serious allegation made by the Prime Minister about the historic Illovo deal. In order to dispel all doubts about the 1/3 which Jean Mee Desveaux (whose memory operates on a decade delay) mentioned, the Jugnauth and Berenger Remake must make public all their bank accounts prior to and post Illovo. Or at least say that they are prepared to come clean about Illovo. It is critical for their credibility.

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