Monday, July 9, 2007


"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime." -- Chinese Proverb.

"Go forth and multiply." -- God.

Impossible to do both? I really want to know where you stand.

Slow Food USA's most recent edition of The Snail is dedicated entirely to the impossible conundrum of sustainable fish. If you're living in North Florida and you love your local seafood, you'll be disappointed to know that Slow Food's short list of seafood to avoid (in the name of sustainability and health) includes two of your beloved favorites: red snapper and grouper. If you have deep pockets or a good hankering, you can still purchase these at just about any seafood counter or seafood shack boasting "Fresh from Florida" seafood. Local fishermen and the Florida seafood industry get a reprieve (at least for a while), and you get to eat snapper and grouper every day (but your grandchildren won't).

Louise was telling me about her personal local favorite -- redfish. She gets all sparkley-eyed when she's talking about them, but apparently I may never even taste one -- they're so scarce that the legal limit is one fish per harvester per day.

Some of the little fellas, namely Gulf shrimp (farmed or wild) and farmed clams and oysters are apparently doing fine and are not hurting anyone or anything -- good news for shellfish lovers. Perhaps stone-crabs. Perhaps blue crabs. Little fellas who are not doing fine: our local bay scallops. Who else? Someone fill me in.

Mr. Lewis, how are the mullet doing these days? How are our local fishermen?

And where the heck do I go to buy good local fish? I overheard people at the market talking about how fish is flown in from afar to our nearby fishing villages. Justin Timineri said that Southern Seafood is a good place to start if I want honest, good local seafood (I guess I just have to say "no" to grouper and snapper). What about Mike's Seafood (anyone know)? I know I can buy sustainably farmed clams at Clamalot. Can I go to any of the cinder-shacks from here to Apalachicola and be sure that I'm getting good, clean, fair, and local seafood?

Who can give us a good picture of the FISH issue at home on the Florida Panhandle?

And, once again, I really want to know where you stand.


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