Fishing Models and Shoes? More in Common than You’d Think

Emma Sullivan, Writer

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Everyone loves a good fish ‘n’ chips, right? Especially, as the sun is setting over a glittering waterway and you are sitting in an adirondack chair and it’s a perfect summer evening. But have you ever wondered where that fish came from before it was fried and battered and sold? The story is a lot more complicated beneath the surface.

Cod has been a favorite among New Englander’s for longer than just your grandparents’ generation. So much so that in the 1980s, the cod stock in New England waters collapsed from overfishing. Just like yeezys and birks, fishing models and quotas go in and out of style. As evidenced by the cod collapse, the fishing model of the 20th century were not a great fit for the North Atlantic marine ecosystem.

The cod and other bottom dwelling species have yet to rebound. The watery world of the Northwest Atlantic has been altered so drastically that fish that swim closer to the surface, pelagic fish, have become dominant. This new world challenges cod at every stage of their lives (no retirement in Florida for these guys!). As larvae, cod become dinner for the smaller forage fish. As youths, cod are outcompeted by the dominant pelagic fish. As full grown adults, cod provide a delicious buffet for humans and seals alike.

So, what can we do to ease the plight of these fish that will never be able to relax with a good book and a glass of wine on a Sunday evening? No, the answer is not stop eating fish. People have certainly tried it but like vegetarianism, trying to humanize all meat management by not eating a steak has not been entirely successful (though it’s definitely a start!). Instead, before tucking into a nice piece a fish, ask if your meal has been sustainably sourced. Sustainable fishing is a fishing model that (hopefully) will never go out of style because it protects the Northwest Atlantic marine ecosystem and delivers adequate products. With sustainable fishing, we can begin the save the demersal fish that remain in the Northwest Atlantic.

P.S. Bancroft serves sustainably sourced fish but don’t be afraid to ask at other venues. If you are buying fish on your own, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainably sourced fish page: https://www.seafoodwatch.org

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