Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alex Beach Striped Bass

First off I want to thank Bruce for providing the Striped Bass for class and dinner today. That was very generous. More thoughts on the class portions of the day later but I just ate so I want to share my “experiment” results with all of you. I apologize to those who would like to copy my recipe; both the Italian and Hungarian in me forbid me from measuring when I cook. It is an inexact science.

In a frying pan I mixed about equal parts olive oil and whole milk, a quarter stick of butter, a bunch of garlic, grated asiago and romano cheeses, and about a half a cup of chopped fresh basil from my back yard. Using a low flame I let the sauce simmer and slowly mix together. Meanwhile, I started boiling some whole grain conchiglie and steamed fresh broccoli florets. I did not have any flour or bread crumbs on hand so I crushed up a small bowl of multigrain cheerios to use as a breading for my filet. This turned out to be a great alternative because the cheerios added a bit more crunch to the fish than flour alone would have. Once the heated milk started to congeal and thicken the sauce I put in the filet and turned the heat up to a medium burn. The fish fat further thickened the sauce into a nice creamy texture. I cooked the fish for about 3 minutes on each side, just until the fish was slightly golden on the outside and white but not too flaky on the inside. The completed filet was served over a bed of conchiglie and broccoli with the sauce drizzled over the entire dish. It was delicious but I think my experiment would yield better results if I had a few more data points to try.

As a New York State fisheries manager I do not really care one way or another if the ban on fishing in federal waters is lifted. As long as the quota for striper does not go up my constituency would be happy. It does not affect the sustainability of the species if they are caught off a pier on Long Island or four miles off the coast. A dead fish is a dead fish. Before I would support this repeal, however, I would like to see some data on how the landing numbers would be affected by fishing in federal waters. As a New York citizen I do not care where New York anglers catch their fish, but as a responsible citizen who has a stake in the wellbeing of the fish stock I would be concerned that opening federal waters could increase the total landings for the Atlantic coast. We are currently in a fairy sustainable equilibrium with the bass population, but this is based on the actual landings and not the quotas we set. Those states that cannot reach their quota in state waters but would be able to reach it if federal waters were opened would greatly increase the actual landing of bass. Just because we would still be following this human imposed quota on fishing doesn’t mean that the increased pressure of the species won’t be too much to overcome. Since New York State is currently doing just fine I would say keep the ban on federal waters just to ensure that other states do not ruin the fish stock with an increased landing.

My personal opinion is slightly different, and was what our group agreed upon during class. I would support lifting the ban on fishing in federal waters if anglers made some other important concessions. I would like the recreational fishing limit of one bass per day above the George Washington bridge decreased to zero. I would also like to eliminate sport fishing in the Hudson and the NYC harbor waters. Even though there is currently a catch and release policy for these waters there is no need to risk unintentionally killing fish for sport. These two measures would protect the spawning grounds and nurseries for the bass and help ensure a continuous stock in the future. I am sure anglers with boats would go for this proposition and shore based anglers around the city would not but I am not empathetic. This is my proposition and they are all likely Yankee fans anyways so anything to make them more miserable is a good decision.

-Alex Beach

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