Monday, June 29, 2009

Most Fish are Bony but Not All Fish are Dubbed "Bonefish"

A decade ago, I sat in Miami International waiting to board my plane to Abaco, the northernmost island of the Bahamas. All of my friends and traveling companions were on the plane already, as was our weeks supply of frozen steaks, chicken, ribs, and chops. (There weren't many palatable eating establishments in Abaco, apparently). I was not on the plane because I didn't have a passport or a birth certificate. No one told me that I needed either and it wasn't so much that I couldn't GO to the Bahamas, it was that I wouldn't be let back in to the U.S. without one of these documents. After hours of effort to convince American Airlines that I could produce one of these documents while in the Bahamas (via my father and Fedex), they finally put me on the plane. The next plane. And I subsequently met up with my friends on the island.

We were going Bonefishing. With fly rods in hand, a rented boston whaler, and 8 days in the Bahamas, this was our plan. (Incidentally, the New York Times recently had a great article on bonefishing and I managed to find it online and include it here).

The water in the Bahamas is like nothing you have ever seen. It is like one large bathtub with lots of ripples in it. At a long glance, it is light blue / green, but you can see everything right in front of you. Fish. Coral. More fish. Everything.

Our bout to catch bonefish proved successful for a couple of my talented fly-fishing cohorts. It was a game of patience and skill. A bit different than fishing in a river and more challenging to actually hook one. My success occurred when fishing at night off the dock using strips of conch for bait. I caught many fish and enjoyed most evenings that way.

Bonefishing in the Bahamas. Try it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, No Fish

Recently, I have been reading many articles on our oceans including articles on oceanic pollution (including plastics and chemicals, to name a few), increased oceanic temperature, and the not-so-surprising disappearance of its residents. This includes fish.

Now I love fish. I love to catch them, put them back, eat them, buy them, and cook (roast, pan fry or grill) all types of fish. But one of the articles focused on what we can do to ensure the longevity of fish species. The argument of the article was that if we maintain this level of depletion for much longer, it is possible that a number of species of fish will become extinct.

When we go to a market, we make economic decisions. The products that we purchase contribute to demand. When there is demand, there is supply. But if there is no demand, supply will dwindle. When applying introductory economic principles to the purchases we make (including the types of fish we buy), we could very likely reverse some of the overfishing that is going on in our oceans.

Click here to see the list of OVERFISHED fish.

Just a while ago, I was promoting a Halibut dish. As long as it is not Atlantic Halibut, I still promote the recipe.

If each one of us can make choices that promote the recovery of certain species of fish, we will all benefit...and so will the mammals (standard predatory cycle in the ocean) that are also consumers.

Choose wisely!