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


1 comment:

Brenda said...

Great Job!!! I'm completely impressed!!! Can't wait to try out your recipe.