Sustainable Seafood — An Important Discussion.

January 4, 2011

I wanted to share a brief exchange myself and other chefs from Delaware North had recently regarding what types of foods our bodies need on a regular basis. I’ve clearly marked where each chef begins their opinion.

The discussion began when Chef Percy Whatley sent around a link to a very thought-provoking story from Time that talks about sustainable. I encourage you to read it here.

I then responded:

Thank you Chef Percy for sharing this very valuable philosophy article on sustainable seafood. There is NO QUESTION in my mind that this is the best if not the ONLY way to go. It is all in the education…and I will certainly do my best to address the underutilized species in the upcoming seafood class/workshop in Boston in early June for all the regional chefs.

Best wishes to everyone for a great new year – filled with non-endangered delicious fish species.

Chef Peter Bailey then responded:

Fellow Chefs – I have to say that Conger Eel is probably one of the sweetest and juiciest fish available…it has lots of bones though. Growing up in England, we had it every Friday at home as it was much nicer tasting than Cod or Haddock. Chefs on the East coast probably are familiar with this fish as it is common in the Atlantic (I am not sure if it is found in the Pacific). When I crewed on a lobster boat in the English Channel we would get them in the lobster pots and they usually ended up as bait as they would just devour all the crabs and lobsters and pretty much destroy the pots getting out and going from pot to pot down the string. So, needless to say, the captain was pretty annoyed when he finally found the pot with one in it. They are big fish (I have seen them up to seven-feet-long and I know they get much bigger) so the yield from one fish is great. It must be a real pain to filet one though as the bone structure is star-shaped and I have always cut them into steaks.

Another great-tasting fish from the Atlantic is Gurnet. I think they also go under the name of Sea Robin. One sub-species grows to about five pounds and yields good-sized filets so there are lots of fish out there, but they’re not as easy to catch as the more common fish.

On a slightly different note, I think that if countries outlawed the ocean-going factory ships then fish stocks may have a better chance of replenishing themselves. I also think the practice of turning fish into fertilizer would help, as well.