Monday, July 30, 2012

Here today gone tomorrow

Our last day of class was spent discussing Striped Bass.  We discussed the issue of over fishing and conservation.  After prof Berman explained the history of the striped bass in Boston, I began to understand a little bit more about the severity of the conservation effort.  Explaining that the bass used to dominate the New England shore line filling the waters so think "you could walk on it."  Just a few short years ago, Prof Berman explained, The Striped Bass population was so over fished and under populated that you would be hard pressed to find one of  "keeping size."  Noting the stark contrast in the current situation from the past was really jarring. Our reading of the "Tragedy of the Commons" further explained the intricacies of the situation.  The striped bass issue is a problem that encompasses more than just evolution and extinction.  This is a complicated problem involving politics, public policy, personal interest, and financial gain.  On one hand we have the fisherman who rely in the striped bass as a their source of income, while the environmentalists fight for the existence of the species.     While the two sides of the issue battle it out, the poor striped bass hangs in the balance facing endangerment and extinction.    Ultimately what everybody wants is to have Striped bass in the future.  Unfortunately, finding a solution for the problem is a lot easier said than done.  By restricting fishing commercial fishermen loose out on profits, and recreational fishermen loose out on fun.  Subsequently, Bostonian touristic infrastructure misses out too because the charters cant bring tourists out to fish, and if the people aren't coming to fish, lower numbers of people are staying in the hotels and eating in the restaurants.  But at the same time, if the striper population is over-fished and depleted there will be no fish to catch or eat.  Not only does the striped bass population loose out so does everybody else.

  At the risk of using a cheesy saying, it is kind of a chicken or egg problem.  More realistically it is a cyclical problem that seemingly has no definite start or end.  It is up to the environmentalists to find a solution to the problem, the politicians to approve it, the law enforcement to enforce it and the fishermen (recreational and commercial alike) to abide by these rules.  It is so tricky because legislation are only relivant to one state at a time.  This is the problem we are dealing with right now and it is where the "Tragedy of the Commons" comes in to play.  If one state allows unlimited fishing and another allows a restricted amount it is totally unfair for the people who have a restricted amount because the striped bass that they are not catching in an effort to conserve the species is being caught a few miles away by other state's fishermen who had limited restrictions.  Totally a Tragedy of the Commons problem.  That was really a great reading, because it applies to so many issues people deal with in everyday life; especially issues involving public policy.  It seems in order to help one group of individuals another group must take the blow and miss out a little bit themselves.. ultimately the end result should be collective well being and harmony.  I am not sure where my political views are on that issue, but that is a whole other paper.  This is about the fish!  None the less, I think that was a great article to read because it used a micro issue and explained how it could and should be applied to macro issues.  Thumbs up!

So anyways, lets get to the hands on stuff--

The last portion of class was spent in the kitchen.  Prof B brought in a a 16.5 lb striper.  This striper was one that he had to buy because he could not catch one himself.  This is by no means a comment on Prof Berman's fishing skills it is more a comment on the wealth of stripers in the Boston Harbor.  Recounting the night and day's process of trying to catch a fish for the class, he demonstrated the conservation act in motion.  While it was perhaps disappointing for him not to bring in a self-caught fish for the class, I think we all appreciated and learned a little bit more about the conservation efforts.  Abiding by the rules of the fishing restrictions, Prof B was unable to produce a bass for us so he went to an accredited fish seller who sold him a legal fish.  This was the beautiful bass:
Gorgeous right?
A couple important things about this fish:  I dont know if you can see it in this picture, but it is important that you check the fish's lip for evidence of a hook.  If there is no evidence of a hook, that mean that your fish was caught by a net which is ILLEGAL!  This fish had a messed up lip so we knew that it was totally LEGAL!   Let the good times roll!!!!!!!!  Another interesting but important fact Prof B brought to light was that, these fish dont care who catches them or what they do with them after they are killed, it just matters on the large scheme to the species.  The number of fish that are taken out of the population weighs heavily on the species and this is why the environmentalists fight for the restrictions of the fishing of these fish.  It is all in an effort to conserve and protect this species.  
Though it doesn't matter per se what happens to the fish after it is caught and killed, Prof B commented that he has the upmost respect for animals and proceeded accordingly.  Taking care to dissect and fillet the fish he continued.  Check the pics!!!

  ^ Filleting the fish                          ^getting the stomach out (obvious source of bacteria)^ 

Cutting off yummy pieces of the fish he made sashimi. Raw fish served with pozu soy ginger and wassabi......It was delish!  Then curing the fish with citrus acids (lemon and lime) and adding red onion and cilantro, he also made ceviche.  Super yummy.  After we sampled the delectable delights from Chef Professor Berman's kitchen, we were given our own piece of striped bass to "experiment with."  

That night an an Olympic opening ceremony party, I cooked up my sliver of fish.  Coated in mayo salt and pepper I threw it on a well oiled hot hot hot grill.  

After this baby was cooked I put it on a plate with a bit of lemon an offered party guests a bit of this yummy cooked fish.  I also served up a Hefty plate of knowledge about the Boston Harbor.  Initially horrified that I would offer them something that came from the Boston Harbor, these old time Bostonians were happy to sample the fish after I told them about the clean-up effort and the current clean status of the once dreaded harbor.  They were pleasantly surprised! 
(Just a side note: They were crazy and ill informed, because they were already eating stuffed clams, and copious amounts of lobster salad bought at James Hook......HELLOOOOOOOO?!?!?!) 

Anyways here's a picture of my end product: 


First I served it simply with Lemon, then thought it would be extra delicious with my favorite bean salad.  It was delicious.  So delicious I will share the recipe, because this stuff can be served with anything and eaten at anytime.  Amazing with chips, fish, chicken, steak, eggs, etc.  Good morning, noon and night!

Bean Salad:
2 cans of black beans
2 cans of corn               < Both strained and rinsed
2 avocados (chopped)
1 Mango (chopped)
Salsa fresca
Spicy garlic chili Siracha (if you like it hot!)

Combine and enjoy!
(I know it sounds like a lot of food, and in makes quite a large batch, but trust me your going to need it!)  Bring to your next BBQ or pot lock.  It will be an instant success!!!!!!!

                                                                           --Some Chinese cooking instructor lady


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stripe Bass

Friday was our Snails to Whales last class and we were able to not only discuss the most common fish in New England but we were also able to cut open, dissect, and eat our classes stripe bass. However before the knives were taken out of the box we discussed as a class the importance of saving this beautiful fish. Not to long ago the stripe bass was very close to becoming extinct, which to me is unthinkable. Like many recreational fisherman in Massachusetts my favorite fish to catch during the summer is the stripe bass, and to lose this fish because over fishing would be tragic not just for the sport, but because this fish is unlike any other and it is such important creature in the ocean food chain.

Professor Berman told us that before they changed the law every state had its own rules and regulations about recreational and commercial fishing. Looking at these rules now its pretty pathetic to put these in place and not team up as states because the stripe bass like many other fish in the sea does not stay in one place. They migrate from the tip of northern Maine to the coast of Virginia. To have so many different rules just does not make sense. With the help of some very smart groups of people luckily we were able to save the stripe bass population from dwindling down any lower. Just as planned after five years of banned stripe bass fishing there was a massive population increase. Today though it seems that we are begging to see the population decreasing again. With the knowledge that we have it is our job to  make sure we the stripe bass population doesn't fall again.

Now to the good stuff. After our discussion we made our way over to a much better suited classroom for dissecting our stripe bass. We first rubbed our fingertips up and down the fish to feel the smoothness as you went from head to tail, and the sharpness from tail to head. The fish had a slime like texture that helps protect its body from the ocean. Then we looked at its eye ball and noticed that it was still clear meaning its freshness and that most likely had been caught only a few hours before our dissection. Then the Professor made a small incession cut down the backbone of the fish. After it was finally open we found small bits of fish remnants in the stomach of the striper. The large and small intestines were clearly identified and we were able to touch and feel the texture these organs.

After we cleaned up the fish we were able to eat the filet, which clearly was very good because almost every piece was gone within minutes. When I arrived back to my dorm friday night I decided that I would try to put my filet into the oven and cook the fish. Being the great cook that I am....... I put on some pepper and salt on my small pieces and left the fish in the oven for 30 minutes on the dot. I noticed very quickly that I overcooked my meal but nonetheless I continued. I took a lemon and tried to  squeeze as much juice out as possible. After I dipping my burnt salt and pepper filet I dipped the fish in lemon juice and ate my wonderful creation. I found out that I am not the best cook however I was very entertained about my whole experience in trying to cook my fish.

This class has been very enjoyable and I have definitely learned more then I ever expected to. I am extremely thankful for taking Snails to Whales and hope the best for all of you. Thank you for making the classes remember full and exciting.  

From the ocean to tacos!

On Friday we had our last class, and we focused on the striped bass.  We learned about how science provides the facts regarding the necessary factors for survival (food, habitat, number of female fish able to reproduce), and policies come out of how humans decide to support the necessary factors.  Personally, I would agree with Bruce that it doesn't matter whether it's the commercial or the recreational fisherman that have less to fish- what matters is that there are enough fish left over to produce future generations of fish.  I think that outlawing commercial fishing completely would be unfair to the commercial fisherman, their families and employees, and also to the people who want to eat the fish but aren't able to or aren't willing to fish themselves.  I also think that it would be unfair to outlaw recreational fishing because it would be unfair to the fisherman enthusiasts out there.  I think a happy medium between the two would be fair restrictions for both groups.  How we get to what the fair restrictions are is something better left to people with more expertise than I.

To finish up this field research class, we were able to experience an anatomy lesson.  I grew up with uncles and cousins who fish, and I was taught how to clean the fish I caught.  Still, a refresher was nice as it's been years since I've gone fishing.
Blue striped bass in all it's glory (18.5 pounds!)

 The guts of the fish, including the stomach.  The greyish brown long tubular things to the bottom left are from the stomach, and are partially digested fish.
 Another picture of the innards.  The lifted part on the head is where the gills are located.

After class, our homework was to complete an experiment with part of the fish.  I very gladly accepted this homework, and went home to make fish tacos for dinner.  I marinated the fish with a mixture of chili powder, oregano, chopped cilantro, red pepper, and a smidgen of olive oil.  After about 30 minutes, I tossed the mixture into an electric skillet with a little bit of oil on high heat, and quickly grilled the meat.  

I added flour tortillas, avocado slices, sour cream, hot sauce, sliced cabbage, and some lime.  Pair with a light summer beer (though Corona would have been better), and my feast was complete!

This class has been interesting to say the least, and I am excited to know more about the islands in the harbor.  The ease of the ferry and the available activities planned by the park rangers was great to learn about, and I look forward to spending time on the islands with my boyfriend and his young daughter for years to come.


Striped Bass Ceviche!!!!

In our last class our professor was talking about the different ideas and organization that are helping to save the striped bass. Our professor explained to us that the striped bass was endangered species.  Our professor explained that some ideas and law were developing to minimize the number of striped bass that people will fish. This allow the striped bass to have more babies because the striped bass need to be at least 28 inches in order for the fish man to keep it, allowing them to have babies at least twice in their life time.
As out professor explained to us it hard to save the striped bass because from Miami to Maine every state has different law to save the striped bass. If there was one law in every State will be easier to save the striped bass because could travel to another state and may fish more striped bass. This made me feels very sad because I wish my descendent to meet and eat the striped bass.
I took the head and part of the body and made a delicious “mariscada” that my dad enjoys eat it. As my last project I needed to cook a fillet of striped bass at my home. I made “Ceviche”. I left the fillet of the striped bass in lemon for more than 24 hours. I add tomato, reddish, red onion, cilantro, salt, and Tabasco. This was delicious, I always eat shrimp ceviche but this striped bass ceviche was the best. Thank professor for making this class a very interesting class and also for motivates us to Save the Harbor and the importance of taking care of animal and the ocean.

Striped Bass Ceviche 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back to Basses

Prof. Berman gutted a fish today that was almost hunted to extinction.  That it survives and was available for purchase is a testament to how people can get together to preserve the commons.  Striped bass was the first fish to be protected by law in the United States and the first fish to be taxed.  Even so, overfishing and habitat destruction led to an alarming decrease in its numbers.  The states on the Eastern Seabord where striped bass can be found got together and hammered out a management plan that included a complete ban on striped bass fishing for five years.  Its numbers have since rebounded.

Prof. Berman sliced and diced our fish, showing us how to properly prepare fillets and giving us an opportunity to observe the anatomy of the fish.  We were offered sashimi (I declined) and ceviche, which I reluctantly tried.  We also took a piece of the fish home to prepare in whatever way we chose.

I want to thank Prof. Berman for an inspiring and interesting class.  I learned a lot about Boston Harbor and had a great time doing it.

Cutting out the fillets

The guts of the striped bass

Fillets of other small fish in the stomach of the striped bass

Pieces for us to take home

I added some masala powder to mine and fried it

Tap Water


     When I arrived at Boston Airport on August 22nd, 2011, I had no idea what Boston would offer me. All I wanted was to travel and get out from Yemen for a while. I hated it. I hated the way I led my life back home. I hated the poverty I see on its streets and homes. I hated the way men treat women. I hated the way parents treat kids. I hated my job and my employer. I hated my self and as a result I felt depressed and had doubts about everything around me. I could see no purpose to continue living and there were moments when I would think of those who committed suicide and try to put myself in their shoes. They must be strong enough to do it. I couldn’t. I was too weak to take my life away. It wasn’t due to the fear of what Islamists say about the sever torturing that would await for the one who commits a suicide rather it was my eagerness to lead a happy life while I’m still alive. Were my friend and cousin right about the decision they made? Were they too depressed to see the light of hope in their life? Was committing suicide the only option they had in order to get rid of their misery? What if they could’ve survived? Would that have made a difference and washed their misery away?

     Realizing the truth that death is my ultimate end, I chose to live. I chose to live my life with whatever packages fate brings me or takes away from me. I stopped thinking about my situation and tried to dismiss all my fears away. I started to think about the things I really want to do during my short stay in this life and do whatever it takes to achieve them. I wanted to go to USA and see how life is over there. Traveling abroad is considered to be a difficult issue for a Yemeni single woman due to cultural constrains. Traveling to USA is even more difficult due to the vast gap between its world and the Yemeni world. There were moments I doubted my ability to make it to USA but I never gave it up.

     Here I am in my apartment  in Boston typing this memo on my Mac, a lap top I dreamt of having it but never thought I would someday have it, and yes it has been more than ten months for my stay here studying at BU, meeting people from different parts of the world, taking courses I never thought I would take, and drinking water from the tap. An American friend who spent sometime in Yemen once told me he missed drinking from the tap. I was surprised to hear that.  I never thought that the tap water can be clean and safe to drink whether in Yemen or in any other country. He assured me it is clean and safe there in the United States and I wouldn’t fall sick if I drank it.
“I also want to drink water from the tap.” I said.
“Well, then come to the United States and you will”, He said.

     Now being here, every time I turn on the tap and drink water, I remember his talk about the tap water, and I feel the bliss the US citizens have. I wish I could bring such taps to my people.
There are a lot of things here people take for granted. Things people in Yemen are deprived from. For instance, water, power, parks and a public library where one can find new and old books to read and write a thesis.

     Words here signify their meaning. Clean means clean. Art reflects art in all its beautiful forms. Freedom has a taste; a sweet taste. In Yemen, words are arbitrary. They miss their meanings. “Clean” comes in ranks. “Art” has limitations. “Freedom” has a bitter taste if it actually exists.

     I still love this poor country. I am ready to give up my life, money and everything I have just to draw the smile back on her face. I hate this black cloak wrapped around her beauty. I hate these foreign shackles that restrict the motion of her harbors. I hate these foreign drillers digging deep in her womb. I hate seeing her bleeding in south and north. I hate seeing her own children slaughtering one another. I see her falling down; exhausted of all the stabs she has been receiving. She’s dragging me along with her into the dark hole of loss, but I resist. I have to resist. I hold a hand to the rope of faith and hope and with the other I try to drag her out of that hole of darkness. Between the rope and the hole my feet stand on a marsh of retard.  I feel them sinking as the social traditions, tribal notions, ignorance, and hatred draw them down. I still resist. 

Bass, Bruce and all good things must to come to an end.


The best was saved for last, we spent the first part of the class discussing Sea Bass. Professor Berman explained to us the national effort of the seacoast states to save America's most famous fish.
Striped Bass is a staple food, highly migratory and taste really good. It lives close to the coast from the Carolina's to Maine.

Striped  Bass is a protected fish by law, because of the nature of our government, each state has different fishing laws which made it hard to work collectively work to save the fish. To make matters more difficult, the overlap of the first 3 miles which is state water with that of the Federal government as well as the individuals approach to the issue was a big problem in the beginning. Luckily for the Striped Bass, the nations capital is located in the Atlantic ocean, hence it was easy to convince, show and win congressional support for this initiative as they were taking on beautiful trips to the sea to fish, eat and drink cold beers and cocktails to get them on board.

Professor Berman explained to us the three reasons why Strippers have been well managed:

1. Striped Bass is a popular fish, and it lives close to shores
2. Congressional and political support was fully behind the project
3. Science was available to translate this project into a reality

I am sad this great class has come to an end, I have been inspired by a passionate, cool, extremely open and accessible professor that deeply loves and cares about the Boston Harbor, nature and science.
It is passion that is the spark behind great things in history, it is passion that erected the great monuments if the renaissance, it was passion that drove Arab tribesman from Arabia to conquer the world and build lasting civilization in the Continent's, it was passion and deep love of science that is curing diseases and transforming lives around the globe, it was passion that America beated the Soviets to the moon. Indeed it is passion, dedicated individuals that love the harbor, the coast, the fish and nature that saved the Boston harbor and strippers for future generations. Passion that ignites and drives reason, usually is behind the greatest achivments of men.

Once again Mr. Bruce Berman thank you for a great, informative, cool and passionate class. Thank you for the bass filet which was delicious. I used an old simple recipe and it was yummy.
I baked it in a garlic, cumin, paprika, pepper, salt, lemon, olive oil, coriander and cilantro sauce, very simple but delicious.

lakhaim to you and Shalom.


the last class was about striped bass both theoretical and practical aspects. In the first part of the class we learned about the life of striped bass and the struggles of the governments to save their life. In the second part, prof made a journey to the inner side of striped bass that I am used to make it twice every month. the class had the opportunity to taste that poor fish. The taste of striped bass is very delicious with lemon.

In addition, Greenpeace has a project that striped bass shouldn't be caught less than 30 centimeters length. conscious people do not go restaurants that serve striped bass under 30 cm length.

Striped Bass

Today´s class was about striped bass, an indigenous fish of east coast of United State, although it can also be found in Canada e others parts of the world.
Professor Berman gave us a lecture on the striped bass and its characteristics. It has a large mouth a streamlined and silvery body with dark stripes. Striped bass is classified as an anadromous fish because it can migrate between fresh and salt water.
It´s habitat is normally near the shore and feeds on crabs, lobsters, and other smaller fishes. It has been introduced in several lacks to control de population of invasive species.
It is a migratory fish that normally lives in the south during winter moves north during spring and summer.
Professor Berman showed us his cooking talent and prepared the best fillet fish I ever had. First he opened up the striped bass and explained its anatomy by showing us the stomach, intestine and liver and then prepared the fish as ceviche and sashimi. Congratulation Professor. Have thought about starting a restaurant business?
We all took home a piece of the fish that Professor was kind to share with us. I prepared mine but it did not have Professor´s Berman touch.
I would like to say thanks to every class mate and to Professor Berman who changed my perspectives of wild life and our role in enjoying and protecting it.
Good luck to everyone and enjoy the summer.


Closer Look to Striped Bass

Hi. This is Erdogan for the last time.

The subject of our final day was the striped bass. Although I am not a big fan of sea food, I have tasted striped bass before. Today I had the chance to have a closer look to it. I was close enough to see and touch its intestine, stomach and liver for the first and probably the last time. I saw that it requires careful and accurate cuts to make a striped bass eatable. And I am certainly convinced that I cannot do it. I did not have the chance to taste the filet that I took today because I have never cooked any kind of meal before.  But I think it will be a delicious dinner after I convince my friend to cook it.

Today we also learned that the striped bass is the focal point of furious debates and special regulations. According to Beth Daley of The Boston Globe [1], striped bass population which had a narrow escape from extinction in early 1980s started to give warning signals again. And The Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board came up with new regulations including limits to minimum size, commercial allocation and bag limits to address the concerns [2]. However the regulations did not make the related parties happy. Both the commercial fishermen and recreational anglers are blaming each other for the declines in striped bass population. Additionally the application of different measures in different states is another issue that is arguable. Based on my working experience in the area of regulation, I can say that each of the parties of a dispute always complains and blames the other parties. They want more and more from the regulator. And, at the end of the day, nobody loves regulators and satisfies with the final regulation. According to me, the complaints of both parties can be utilized to recognize the problem but nothing more than that. So, the economic indicators and expectations about fishery and analysis on annual striped bass population must be the basis of the related regulations…

I think I must stop here. Sorry for my boring regulation comments which will continue to be my source of income after I will (hopefully) return to my country next month.

This is the last one of my text only posts. It was nice to meet you all. Bye.

[1] Daley, B. (2010, February 7).Casting blame in striper dispute. The Boston Globe.
[2] ASMFC. (2011, March 24). Atlantic striped bass board initiates addendum to reduce fishing mortality. News Release

The Bass

Today we focused on deep water animals rather than shore zone organisms. In the first part of the class, we learnt about the life of a bass, eating habits, migration, catching regulations and so on. Then, for the second part of the lesson, we moved to the kitchen of the main building. There we learnt the parts of its body while preparing it to be cooked. After removing the filet, we had a chance to taste sushimi or whatever its name. At the end of the lesson, we took a piece of filet to take home. It is in the refrigerator for now, we couldn’t cook it yet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Final Day = Striped Bass

     Summer in New England is many people's favorite season because it allows us to get outside and enjoy being outdoors.  It is especially exciting for those who love the water whether you enjoy boating, trips to the beach, or swimming.  For the group of New Englanders who call the ocean their office it too means something special, striped bass season.
     Unfortunately, this season has been difficult for "keeper" stripers (any fish that is over twenty eight inches.)  Our professor, Bruce Berman who is an avid fisherman has found it to be particularly slow in comparison with last years season where thus far he was able to reel in one hundred and twenty legal size striped bass.  This season has been a different story only collecting twelve.  When asked why the season has been so slow his hypothesis is simply because of the usually warm winter this past year.  When the water temperatures increase it allows for smaller bait fish to travel from east to west, moving closer to shore.  The striped bass which travel in packs north intercept the bait fish, and with the belief of professor Berman the bait fish entered the Massachusetts bay as early as April.  Disappointment should come with optimism.  Within the harbor the fish that have been caught are just a few inches too short which leads fisherman to believe that next season will be nothing but permissible sized fish waiting to be caught.

  Photo of striped bass

     Now to todays subject, eating and dissecting the striped bass.  A beautiful striper that was fresh out of the Massachusetts Bay laid on the cutting board waiting for both a dissection and taste testing from our class. The first cut was made just behind the gill only an inche deep stretching all the way to the tail fin.  A deeper fillet was eventually made and finally, both sides of the fish had been removed.  It was now time to taste.  I was never a big fan of sushi until a few short years ago when I was taken to a sushi restaurant and peer pressured into trying it, and I was instantly hooked.  Today, I love it all, yellow fin, tuna, salmon, and now, striper.  There is something about freshly caught fish, it is not comparable to anything.  Like any raw fish, it had a slimy texture however the taste was not too "fishy" and you can quite honestly taste the freshness.  

     From the tidal pools, beaches and docks that have been explored by our class, it has allowed me to further understand how species within the Boston Harbor survive where to find different organisms.   I have thoroughly enjoyed all we have studied and having a love for the water has made enjoy what lives beneath it even more.
Thank you all for a great six days!

Head Soup

Process to make the Stripped Bass soup!!

At the end the soup was very good!!!!!! Tomorrow I will post the Ceviche pictures. Thank Professor Bruce

Pump Up the Bass

Evening all, Shaun here with my final blog post, reporting to you from my couch with a belly full of striped bass and acoutrements. How did we get there? Well let's recount the steps, shall we? First off, Professor Berman purchased a 17 lb striped bass this morning from the market after a harrowing near catch of his own. Like an honorable recreational angler though, he elected to follow protocols and throw back the fish that was a just a few inches short of the 28 in minimums for striped bass. In the Fuller Building test kitchen we got a first-hand demonstration of how to turn the striped bass into a myriad of delicious and edible options. Here is our friend (I elected not to name him as it just makes him more difficult to eat later) in the whole . . .

From here, Professor Berman elected not to scale the fish as he was going to remove the skin from all the filets. Personally, that's the way that I have always eaten my fish. Amin (apologies if I misspelled his name) asked why Americans preferred their fish this way and Professor Berman explained that it really is just personal taste and to this I can agree. Not sure why, but fish skin is just not something that I dig. While the fish was still in its full-bodied glory, we got a chance to see/touch the slimy protective layer, feel the scales for ourselves and check out the gills and the unique mouth that sucks in its prey before using its mouth plates to dismantle the food. Next, Professor Berman made the first incision just behind the head and over the backbone, sliding the knife along to carefully avoid cutting any internal organs while removing the filet for us to enjoy.

The trickiest part was near the end of the fish, cutting through the tail while trying to avoid its ass. I know from experience, it's a tricky (but important) cut). Once through, it is just a matter of slicing the filet off from the rest of the body, one slow cut at a time, back and forth. Once the first side is complete, it is time to remove the filet from the other side until you have two beautiful filets like so . . .

Once we got here, Professor Berman went through the rest of the fish, taking out some of the other useful pieces along the body. We used most of these to make some sashimi and some incredible looking ceviche. The sashimi was some of the best I have ever had, though I did not get a chance to try the ceviche as I have an intense dislike of cilantro. I did take a pic though . . .

Once the hors d'ouevres were complete, we each got a chance to take home a filet of our own for testing purposes.

It was a good chunk of fish and while it was not enough to feed an entire family, it was plenty to feed me and really, that's the person I am most concerned with feeding anyway. I elected to make some fish tacos with the fish. On Professor Berman's instructions, I cooked the fish just briefly on each side and it did not take long at all. I threw it in some hard shells with some tomoatoes, lettuce and a little cheese and here is the finished product. Not a bad dinner if I do say so myself, which I just did.

My hat's off to Professor Berman for introducing us all to such a great/delicious fish. I sincerely hope that the species does indeed rebound next year and the year after, just leaping onto Professor Berman's boat. Thanks to all for a terrific class. Until we meet again, my fellow harbor enthusiasts.

-Shaun Bossio

The Grand Finale!

Today we learned all about the striped bass, a historically important species in Massachusetts. We lean red that they migrate from fresh water streams and rivers, where they spawn, into sea water. Unlike other fish, they stay close to the shore and feed in shallow water. We then learned that there had been a depletion in the number of Striped bass in New England.  It declined for many reasons, some of which are: catching too many female fish, the popularity and sales of omega-3-fatty acid pills, and Illegal Fishery.  Professor Berman named three reason why we are able to manage the striped bass. The first being that it is a polar fish that lives close to shore so people cared. Second, that congress men take things more seriously when they can see it, and legislators live close to where the striped bass do. And the third reason was because of science and regulation. There was a 5 year ban on catching striped bass and now in order to keep a striped bass caught by commercial or recreational fisherman, it has be a certain size, so that the smaller fish have a chance to grow and spawn at least 3 times. Professor Berman said that from last year to this near he has seen many more big strippers meaning that they are coming back! After learning all about the striped bass we got to cut one open and eat it! Here are some photos from today's cutting of the bass...


First incision 

Cutting down the spine, cutting not too deep

Cutting the fillet off the spine, deeper incisions

Internal organs

Holding of the fish to cut the head off

Small pieces of fish the bass ate left behind, taken out of the intestines 

Cutting some of the "fattier" part off of the fillets 

Thank you so much Professor Berman for a truly wonderful experience, every day we had class. I feel so lucky that I now am filled with knowledge of the Boston Harbor, a place I intend to visit often for more exploration! I wish other classes were as interactive, allowing us to discover what we learn with all of our senses!

-Liza Zipursky