I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I found my halibut on This Fish...

I noticed that there was a special on Halibut at Thrifty Foods so today I went down and bought some for our dinner.  As the person behind the seafood counter was wrapping the fish I noticed that she put an extra sticker on it.  It was a tracking number for a site called This Fish.  I had a general idea of the purpose of the site and was keen to check out what kind of details I would get about my fish.  I wrote the number down and after the kids went to bed I visited the site and entered my tracking number.  The amount of information I was able to learn about the fish was incredible.

I found out that my piece of fish came from a halibut caught off Northern Vancouver Island by fisherman Peter DeGreef, who is the skipper of Optimist #1.  When he is not fishing he lives in Sidney, BC.  The halibut was delivered fresh to Port Hardy on March 21, 2012 and processed by Pasco Seafood Enterprises Inc.  I also learned that the halibut was caught using a bottom longline with hooks.  In addition to this specific information I was able to expand several categories and  learn more about the life cycle of halibut, what bottom longline with hook fishing is, and more information about the processing company.

As a kid growing up on Vancouver Island the life cycle of salmon was well covered in the school curriculum. However, the extent of my halibut knowledge was that they are bottom dwellers and so have two eyes on the top of their head instead of one on each side - not very impressive.  I was surprised to learn that the females are the larger of the species and can weigh up to 500 pounds while the males max out at about 125 pounds.  When females spawn they lay anywhere from 500,000 to 4 million eggs which, when fertilized, drift upwards and spend approximately 6 months floating on the current through the Northeast Pacific Ocean eventually settling in shallow feeding areas.  At about two or three years old halibut will return to the deep sea and females will return to the area where they were hatched to spawn at about 10 years of age.  The maximum life span of a halibut is 40 years.  I probably spent an hour or more perusing the site learning a lot about halibut, the fishing industry and more.

In my mind I can already hear people's cynical views:  "People could put any information into the site, it could be totally fake", "What a waste of time"...  If you are determined to see things in this way I cannot change your mind, but I think the idea behind This Fish is very cool and enjoyed learning more about this initiative.  To summarize the philosophy found on their site This Fish is intended to create a trusted seafood traceability program to benefit both consumers and suppliers.  It may sound odd, but I actually felt proud to support a fisherman from Sidney, BC that I could put a name and face to.

I am very interested in sustainable practices that take into account the long term survival of species and consider the health of the environment.  I believe that the more disconnected people are from the source of their food the easier it is to turn a blind eye to poor industry practices, or to waste food as its arrival at the grocery store seems to be a forgone conclusion.  I would encourage you to check out This Fish and also Ocean Wise, which is a program endorsed by the Vancouver Aquarium.  You can check out their website for a detailed answer to the question "What is sustainable seafood?" and a list of restaurants in your area that serve sustainable, ocean friendly seafood.

1 comment:

  1. Another very interesting and informative article. Well done! I also enjoy rereading the blogs in your Blog Archive to refresh my memory about environmentally friendly products and/or activities.