During World War II when everything was scarce, food rationing was rife and cheap sources of protein were few and far between, somebody had the bright idea to catch cheap fish in South Africa, can it and ship it to England. Suffice to say it did not go down too well over here. The Web is full of war years recollections penned by people who remember this weird fish with the hugely amusing name arriving and being inedible. A large proportion of the tins that were imported remained firmly on shop shelves (despite optimistic suggestions from the Ministry of Food – like Snoek Piquante which seems to have become a kind of shorthand for everything unpalatable about food rationing!).
A tin of Snoek cost 1s 4d and towards the end of the war the unsold tins were relabelled as “Selected cuts of fish for cats and kittens” and sold for 10p!
Edited May 2015