Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sustainable Fish Flown in From All Over the World

A fish market in Branford is making a reputation for itself by selling only fish that have been deemed sustainable by the organizations that watch over those kinds of things. That means you won’t find Chilean seabass, orange roughy, Atlantic flounder, red snapper, sharks, groupers, imported swordfish and other species at The Flying Fish.

Finding a fish market that sells something besides the usual roster of tuna, salmon, swordfish, tilapia, trout, sole, Chilean sea bass etcetera isn’t that easy in the suburbs, which is why it’s such a please to visit a place like Champlin’s in Point Judith, Rhode Island, even if it’s just to look. So for that if nothing else I give The Flying Fish credit for that.

I also give them credit for paying attention to the sustainability issue. A number of months ago, at the urging of Kyle Rabin of Friends of the Bay, Rodale Books sent me Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish, G. Bruce Knecht’s terrific book about Chilean sea bass, the real name of which is Patagonian toothfish. It’s worth a read if you’re interested in how fast a fish can go from abundant to rare, and the extent to which law enforcement will go to try to stop poachers. It’s pretty much a guarantee not only that you’ll swear off Chilean sea bass after you read it but that you’ll cringe every time you sea Chilean sea bass for sale in a market or on a restaurant menu. Here's what the local Branford paper says about The Flying Fish:

The market only sells fish and shellfish that are caught or farmed in sustainable ways. They refuse to carry seafood that comes from sources that are overfished and/or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.

A newly published study in the journal Science warns that the world's wild-caught seafood fisheries could collapse by 2050. An information guide containing facts about which fish and shellfish are endangered is available free to customers of the Flying Fish Market.

On the other hand, how environmentally sustainable can an economic activity be it it has to rely on air transportation from all over the globe?

… its seafood is flown in daily from all over the world… "I'm waiting for FedEx to bring Hawaiian ahi tuna and fresh Baja white wild shrimp," said Hoben.

But that’s a quibble. The Flying Fish is in Branford, which isn’t exactly around the corner for me, so I doubt I’ll go there. But I’m glad they’re doing what they’re doing.



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