19 AUGUST 1995, Page 25

Small fry

Sir: Simon Courtauld's on-going romance with Spanish sailors (`The Spanish are dif- ferent', 29 July) is getting beyond a joke Off he trots to the fish market in Vigo, nerve centre of Spain's fish industry, to dis- prove claims that Spanish fishermen — whom he casts as bewildered victims of xenophobic British newspapers — catch undersized fish. But he is more interested in the quayside glistening with the blood of a thousand fish species and the yellow rub- ber gloves of the women fish-sorters than in establishing the size of the fish.

I too have been to this fish market in Vigo and seen the blood and rubber gloves, but I went equipped with an official EC fish-mea- suring ruler. Unlike Mr Courtauld, I had no difficulty at all in finding undersized fish by the boxload on sale — particularly hake. A hake is a hake, and anyone with a minimum knowledge of fish can identify one with ease. To sell undersized fish is a criminal offence with a hefty fine.

Nicholas Farrell

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