Posts Tagged ‘sustainable fisheries’

Say NO to Farmed Salmon

May 7, 2010

Sea lice infestations are one of the consequences of salmon farms in BC

We all love seafood, fish, shellfish and so on. The problem is, our love for seafood is destroying entire marine and riverine ecosystems. We are not talking small change here. Trawlers have destroyed ocean floors on areas of inimaginable size in every continent. Pirate fishing fleets scour the oceans, international waters and destroy not only the fish species they target, but on their haste to make a quick fortune they kill innumerable seabirds, turtles and all kinds of creatures captured as bycatch. On the other front, fish farming, which could be an alternative to natural stocks, can also be a curse. Salmon farming for instance, has very negative consequences on both, the ecosystems in places like British Columbia and Chile AND on the fisheries of poor nations. This is because in order to feed the penned salmon, astronomical amounts of school fish must be caught elsewhere. Usually elsewhere is poorer nations that need to sell whatever resource they have in order to keep their heads above the water. All the anchovy, sardine and other small fish that are used to make fishmeal to feed salmon (chicken and turkeys too, for that matter) is caught in the seas of countries like Peru. Farmed salmon consumption is objectionable from every point of view. It doesnt provide “much needed jobs” in remote areas; in fact, it provides only a few jobs. We contribute massive amounts of tax dollars; our governments should see that those dollars create sustainable jobs in those remote areas instead of sending soldiers to kill Afghans in some war in which Canada has nothing to do. That costs billions. Just to mention one misuse of our tax dollars. Back to the subject of interest. Salmon farming only benefits a few huge companies at the cost of destroying bays and possibly being one of the main causes for the collapse of the wild salmon stocks. We are taking fish away from the table of a poor Peruvian or African kid to feed expensive salmon that not everyone can afford in Canada. Or in the USA. Or anywhere. Farmed salmon should be out of your shopping list. So should Chilean Sea Bass. Monkfish. Skate. And a hundred more. The world’s fisheries are in real, actual trouble. This is not science fiction, just check your United Nations FAO fisheries status online documents to understand what is going on.


A Perfect Sushi Wine

April 17, 2010

Wine to pair with Sushi? Well, that is the 100 million dollar question. When I first tasted Torrontes I thought the varietal was a serious candidate. Of course, Sushi is such a wide umbrella term that is rather simplistic to say “this wine pairs with Sushi.” But some wines get closer to the job than others. Torrontes, with its ripe apricot palate and floral and spice aromas, definitely qualifies for the job. But its bubbly incarnation, the Deseado Torrontes, is really the wine that stands up to the challenge. Sweetness matched by incisive acidity, fruity and muscaty, Deseado meets the diversity of flavors accompanying a set of rolls, nigiri and oily tempura snacks. Available in Vancouver for 22-26 dollars, this is the ultimate Sushi wine. Gochiso Sama!

ps. while you eat your sustainably fished albacore tuna, the bluefin tuna species, perhaps the most majestic animal in the oceans is being caught to extinction by greedy northamerican and japanese fishmongers. let’s put a  stop to it! write a letter to your MP and demand Canada supports a total ban on bluefin tuna fishing

Grilled Squid for Christmas

December 24, 2009

Not very traditional, I know, but long ago I renounced eating turkey out of ethical and health considerations. Plus, grilled squid tastes a lot better than the bird. The slippery creatures live free in the oceans and with increasing water temperatures, there is a cephalopod bonanza all over the world. In fact, in some areas, like off the coast of California, the large Humboldt squid are becoming a problem due to their abundance. In today’s vulnerable seas, the squid fisheries is one of the sustainable ones.

The recipe offered here  is a mix of what I tasted in Piran, a lovely town on the Adriatic shores of Slovenia and my father’s own, which he borrowed -and bettered- from Japanese immigrants in the Peruvian port of El Callao.  The original Mediterranean and Adriatic recipe includes garlic, lemon and parsley. The soy sauce and ginger additions are definitely Asian. This  is a very simple and simply delicious meal.

Grab a 2 pound pack of frozen squid tubes and tentacles, thaw, wash with fresh water, rinse and pat dry. Marinate in a bowl with crushed garlic (2 cloves), chili flakes (to taste), chopped fresh ginger (a thimble full), white wine (I used half a cup of inexpensive Australian Chardonnay) and a few dashes of soy sauce. For this latter ingredient, I used the light version. Marinate in fridge for 6 hours.

Heat a cast iron skillet and brush it with cooking oil Iif you have a bbq all the better). Take the squid marinade, pat dry on a t-towel and grill on cast iron skillet over high heat. Don’t overcrowd the skillet; you should have about half of the surface covered with tubes and tentacles. You will need a couple of minutes until brown. Set aside in warm oven and continue until all squid is grilled.

Serve immediately on warm platter. Pour plenty of your favorite olive oil (when I say plenty I mean swimming in oil) and squirt a lemon on the dish. Sprinkle with a handful of finely chopped parsley and eat with Portuguese buns or Parisian Baguette.

Wine choices: Albarino from Northern Spain, Burgans is a good option. Raimat Chardonnay Albarino would also accompany this plate with elan. Chablis and Falanghina would also enhance this dish.

Merry Christmas to all!