Rome, July 26, 2022 – I. two dead dolphins, killed and filleted, recently found on the beaches of Sardinia, shocked and surprised many Italians, but not all. For years, associations such as the Enpa denounce the illegal practice of obtaining “Moss me” drying the cetacean fillet, a delicacy from the black market, but which can also be revealed dangerous to health of consumers.
It is forbidden to fish, hold, transport or trade specimens of cetaceans, turtles and sturgeons in Italy except for justified needs of wildlife conservation or scientific research, according to the decree law of May 3, 1989. Over the years, however, it has been clear that the illegal trafficking of dolphin mosciame did not stop on the contrary, it had become rare and expensive (200 euros per kg, ed), so as to entice poachers. Hyenas also dedicated a TV survey to him in 2013, but nothing has changed since then and intelligent cetaceans continue to be in demand on someone’s tables.
The ‘mosciame’, or ‘musciamme’, the name of the fillet of deflino or dried tuna, derives from the word of the Ligurian dialect ‘muscio’ which means person with difficult tastes. But it could come from the Arabic mosammed, which means hard, dry thing, after passing through Spain where it has become a typical product of the Murcia region, and is called mojama de atun, tuna musciame. Is exactly in Liguria and Sardinia the culinary tradition with dolphins is more rooted, as it is, but it is legal, that of the red tuna musciame or Tarantello, a typical Ligurian gastronomic product that we also find in the Genoese enclave of Carloforteon the Sardinian island of San Pietro, a town founded by the Ligurians whose language and traditions it preserves.
Many times the dolphins are not deliberately poached, but they remain entangled in the nets of fishing boats, which instead of freeing them or reporting them to the Port Authority if they are dead, hoist them on board and dissect them to obtain the fillet, then throwing the carcass. Many times, on the other hand, poachers go hunting for dolphins, and to escape the controls they manage to fillet and carve the corpse of the cetacean, so much so as to make it unrecognizable and do it resemble a tuna or a shark.
Finally, having damaged the environment and avoided the fine of having eaten an endangered species, the unwary consumer will have to deal with the own healthIn fact, dolphins are at the top of the food chain and their meats often contain toxic elements such as mercury. Last but not least, it should be remembered that dolphins have a proven intelligence thanks to a cerebral cortex similar to the human one, they communicate with each other and interact easily with humans, with whom, however, the relationship is not always healthy for cetaceans. when they are kept in captivity.