We had some fish the other night. It said it was hoki on the box but I'm sure it was flatfish.

Very flat fish.

The timing was spot on, in terms of other consumables getting a bit of a pasting lately.

Especially milk and other dairy products which we pay more for here than what they do in the US, Australia and Europe.

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They get the same Kiwi-made things but somehow manage to get them on the shelves cheaper ... despite the costs of exporting and distribution and other such commercial necessities.

So, with someone on telly bemoaning the price of milk in New Plymouth compared to New Orleans and Newcastle I cut into the bulky looking fish slice.

It was bulky looking not due to the potentially great slab of fish within.

It was the very thick crisp breadcrumb type coating which enveloped it.

And it did a very good job of enveloping it ... of hiding the fact there was little in the way of seafood inside.

Okay, it was one of the cheaper brands on the freezer racks, but it still seemed like a good deal, although there was a clear issue with the words on the packaging.

As I examined the flatfish anorexia, which no kidding was about as thick as a slice of ham and chicken, I decided that the manufacturer should have noted on the list of ingredients "may contain traces of fish".

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But hey, you learn by such fishy occurrences and that brand won't set foot (or fin if it ever had any) inside the freezer door again.

I'll go for the more higher profile and slightly pricier frozen jobs.

And it's odd that the price over the past year doesn't seem to have shifted on those packs of six batter-clad hoki hunks.

But fresh fish has, and I don't quite get it.

It's always good to grab a few fresh fillets from time to time but when you take aboard the cost of some species you do tend to glance back toward the beer-battered species.

This time last year gurnard was going for about $28 a kilo, which was kinda steep given that hoki and red cod was about half the price.

So I checked some out yesterday and noted a kilo of the great gurnard is now around $34.99.

I did the sums.

If you could catch one and sell one every hour for eight hours five days a week you'd be earning a very, very healthy salary.

The hoki and red cod were still going for about $14 or $15 and hey, they're okay grilled or baked.

It comes down to the name and the quality of the fish.

Gurnard and terakihi fetch a high price because they are a quality set of fins and gills.

And snapper?

Yep, it's up there around $40 a kilo.

I should never have got rid of the old kontiki.

What I don't quite get is why they should cost so much when they effectively farm and produce themselves.

Unlike the animals on dry land which provide meat and milk and whatever, the fish from the great farms of the ocean don't need to be fed, watered, wormed, drenched or inoculated.

You just go out with a big net and scoop them up.

Ahh the price of fish, huh?

Comes down to what you want and what you want to pay ... but a $7 a kilo increase in just 12 months?

All part of the mysteries of modern commercial life where businesses increasingly edge into the on-line world.

When the first credit cards came out people were gobsmacked.

"They'll never take off ... they'll be giving cash out from machines in walls next."

And as DIY banking and messaging continues to grow the post offices start to disappear and the suburban banks do likewise.

Is this progress?

I suppose so, but it just all seems to come at a cost.

Like the cost of fish.

Mind you, I spotted the salaries that some of the bosses of some of the big banking chains were getting the other day and it's a few million or so a year.

I guess if you close a few branches and knock off a few staff you're keeping costs down and that means salary rewards.

Crikey, must be gurnard every night in their shiny kitchens.