MaxKatt

‘Salt Water People’ Explores Baymen’s Lives on Long Island

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20 hours ago, MaxKatt said:

 

They should look to what some of these long time small family farmers have been doing for survival.  Brand it.  Not just "fish," but "Fish from _(Insert 13 generation family surname here)__."   Sell only to upscale restaurants and people willing to pay a premium for the product and it's sustainable harvest.     Maybe even get tables at all these little farmer's markets that are cropping up everywhere.  As long as they didn't abuse the trust, I'd pay more to source from them vs. some nameless, faceless, corporate fish operation that doesn't really care about the product, the environment, or me.  I'll trust my fish is safe and better from people doing it since...forever vs. Big Fish LLC.

 

That's starting to happen.  There is a "Dock to Dish" operation now that seems pretty successful.

 

And that's really the right way to market local fish.  Let's be honest:  Most people, across most of the country, don't know what good fish tastes like.  They'll gladly eat tilapia or sewer-grown Vietnamese catfish.  About 90% of the fish Americans eat is imported.

 

Thus, real, locally-sourced fish is a luxury food, and should be marketed as such to earn a top dollar.  Fishermen can then catch fewer fish, market them for a higher price, and still earn a decent living.  It's starting to happen, and is probably the future of most U.S. fisheries, at least on the East Coast.

 

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1 hour ago, chumfish said:

 

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Is that an accurate portrayal of how the family's being discussed fish today?  

 

Looks like photos I saw on Noreast.comm 20 years ago, and I think they were of scenes from many years prior.  

 

Asking honestly.  Have to be fair.

 

 

Edited by MaxKatt

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Men’s Lives was published January 1988. 
 

I have another pic of hundreds of bluefish left to rot on the beach on my desktop. 
 

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14 mins ago, MaxKatt said:

 

Is that an accurate portrayal of how the family's being discussed fish today?  

 

Looks like photos I saw on Noreast.comm 20 years ago, and I think they were of scenes from many years prior.  

 

Asking honestly.  Have to be fair.

 

 

The same families are still haul seining the same Amagansett beach today.  They do it mostly out of tradition because the barely catch anything. Their tags get filled by gill netters. They long ago changed their gear slightly to comply with the rule changes made back in the 80's.  I have pictures somewhere.

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3 mins ago, Cpalms said:

The same families are still haul seining the same Amagansett beach today.  They do it mostly out of tradition because the barely catch anything. Their tags get filled by gill netters. They long ago changed their gear slightly to comply with the rule changes made back in the 80's.  I have pictures somewhere.

 

Geeze.  Can't get excited about that.  Can't believe that's still legal.

 

No need for the pics.  Was I correct though, were some of the old ones I remember from Noreast a lifetime ago?

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The water to table sounds very cool and I’d support that. 
 

I do when it comes to shellfish 

 

the invention of refrigerator 18 wheel trucks means more product to extract for a hungry National Market 

 

its a very mixed story 

 

I wish it were as simple as just grandfathering in all the true commercials 

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Just now, JohnP said:

The water to table sounds very cool and I’d support that. 
 

I do when it comes to shellfish 

 

the invention of refrigerator 18 wheel trucks means more product to extract for a hungry National Market 

 

its a very mixed story 

 

I wish it were as simple as just grandfathering in all the true commercials 

 

 

Check that other story I posted in Main this morning regarding farmed striper.  

 

NYT Food reporter called it first farmed striper worth roasting.   Did a side-by-side and declared them almost the same, with wild "slightly more rich."  Maybe for them, but the average person routinely buys and consumes mislabled fish without ever noticing.  While an NYT Food Critic may notice a difference, clearly the masses will not.

 

 

 

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6 mins ago, MaxKatt said:

 

Geeze.  Can't get excited about that.  Can't believe that's still legal.

 

No need for the pics.  Was I correct though, were some of the old ones I remember from Noreast a lifetime ago?

Not 100% positive but likely.  You should check out the Marine Museum in Amagansett and the East Hampton Pubic library.  East Hamptonites have exhaustively archived their town history. The last whale legally killed in the USA was killed and butchered on the same beach by the same families in the early 1900's.  This event and the Edwards family was discussed at length in Men's Lives.

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On 11/6/2019 at 10:10 AM, MaxKatt said:

 

Geeze.  Can't get excited about that.  Can't believe that's still legal.

 

No need for the pics.  Was I correct though, were some of the old ones I remember from Noreast a lifetime ago?

It rides the borderline between legal and illigal.  "Haul seine" and "haul seining" isn't defined in NY law.  Gill netting is specifically allowed.su

 

So they now use gill nets, not the haul seines that were traditionally used, but they run them out from the beach and around the fish that they believe are there, and haul them back to the beach to catch fish that aren't necessarily gilled, but merely engulfed by the arc of the net.

 

It needs a legislative solution, and some attempts have been made, but nothing has gotten past the talking stage so far.

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2 hours ago, CWitek said:

It rides the borderline between legal and illigal.  "Haul seine" and "haul seining" isn't defined in NY law.  Gill netting is specifically allowed.su

 

So they now use gill nets, not the haul seines that were traditionally used, but they run them out from the beach and around the fish that they believe are there, and haul them back to the beach to catch fish that aren't necessarily gilled, but merely engulfed by the arc of the net.

 

It needs a legislative solution, and some attempts have been made, but nothing has gotten past the talking stage so far.

Yep they haul seine with a gill net. 

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1 hour ago, Sandflee said:

Yep they haul seine with a gill net. 

Can’t ya just feel the love the old families have for their ancestral fisheries??!!!

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On 11/5/2019 at 11:42 AM, Cpalms said:

They already do. Google Round Swamp Farm. The end user of their catch is RICH people.... Go to a nice fish market that sells fresh local fish - what does striped bass, scallops, lobster, fluke, sea bass, etc etc cost per pound?  Call Round Swamp and check.  

 

That's the fallacy to our local commercial fishing. Their catch does not feed the people - their catch feeds the RICH people. Rich people are the only ones that can afford to buy their catch. Average american families in not paying $28/ pound for striped bass on even a semi regular basis.

 

Why is it so important that they survive?

Absolutely 100% truth.  They don't have to survive.  When people can't pay to play is curtains closed.  That's why **** farmed fish feeds 90% of the world.  It's what people who want fish/seafood in their diet can afford.  I have been a chef for a long while.  The costs have grown exponentially while peoples income has remained relatively stagnant.  ( yes I know people can look for better jobs yada yada!)  1 guy in Vietnam or another Asian country produces tilapia for the majority of the world.  So cheap it isI served in schools throughout Europe.  I moved to Florida a year ago.  Try to find local fish on a menu that you can afford.  Good luck!  Florida local menus near me and most I've seen.  Catfish, tilapia swai(catfish), shrimp or some other mislabeled **** fish.  Grouper sandwich $20, not paying it for a sandwich.  I have relegated my family and I to eating fish that I harvest legally with higher size limits for yield purposes.  I think everyone that wants to eat fish/seafood to have to harvest it themselves, radical I know but hey gotta start somewhere..  You wanna see stocks rebound, this should do it!

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21 hours ago, beatonem said:

Absolutely 100% truth.  They don't have to survive.  When people can't pay to play is curtains closed.  That's why **** farmed fish feeds 90% of the world.  It's what people who want fish/seafood in their diet can afford.  I have been a chef for a long while.  The costs have grown exponentially while peoples income has remained relatively stagnant.  ( yes I know people can look for better jobs yada yada!)  1 guy in Vietnam or another Asian country produces tilapia for the majority of the world.  So cheap it isI served in schools throughout Europe.  I moved to Florida a year ago.  Try to find local fish on a menu that you can afford.  Good luck!  Florida local menus near me and most I've seen.  Catfish, tilapia swai(catfish), shrimp or some other mislabeled **** fish.  Grouper sandwich $20, not paying it for a sandwich.  I have relegated my family and I to eating fish that I harvest legally with higher size limits for yield purposes.  I think everyone that wants to eat fish/seafood to have to harvest it themselves, radical I know but hey gotta start somewhere..  You wanna see stocks rebound, this should do it!

I think that the final word on farmed, imported fish came from an old article by Paul Greenburg  (author of Four Fish, among ohters)that appeared in the New York Times a little over a decade ago.

 

I'll just repring a short section, which pretty well says it all (the fish in question, which the Vientnamese call "tra," is a catfish of the genus Pangasius).

 

If Vietnamese growers can be believed, tra may be the most efficient way on earth to make animal protein. It takes three acres of grazing land to grow a single 700-pound cow. That same land, flooded and turned over to channel catfish ponds will generate 25,000 pounds of catfish. But in Vietnam, those three acres will bring in up to 1 million pounds of tra. The question that fish farmers outside of Southeast Asia ask is whether the Vietnamese are competing on a level playing field. And if not, they wonder, are the Vietnamese grabbing up huge swaths of the global white-fish market at the expense of environmental and consumer safety?

 

These suspicions begin with the very beginning of the man-Pangasius relationship. To illustrate, it’s worth repeating a joke my translator told me:

 

Question: “How do you tell farmed and wild fish apart?”

Answer: “The farmed fish is cross-eyed from staring up at the outhouse.”

 

Though they are today raised like most farmed fish, Pangasius’s domestication did start under the privy. After they were introduced by peasants into their “latrine ponds,” Pangasius rooted around in, well, let’s call it “decaying organic matter,” to obtain their fodder. When large enough, the fish were sold domestically on the Mekong’s floating markets.

 

So yes I only eat fish if I know exactly how, when and where they died.  Which means that if my wife, one of my friends or I didn't catch it, I'll pass.

 

 

 

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Is

From This week's East Hampton Star.......Sad indeed.

Is Climate the Culprit?

Many theories about a massive scallop die-off
 
Courtesy of Andrew Cassel
November 7, 2019

Baymen and lovers of shellfish can hold on to hope that East Hampton waters will offer an abundant crop of bay scallops when they open to the annual harvest on Sunday, but if the first days’ harvest in state waters is an indication, they will be disappointed. There are several theories, but one certainty is a massive die-off of adult scallops in the region.

“They all died,” Danny Lester, an Amagansett bayman, said on Tuesday. “We already looked. We looked two weeks ago and everything was dead.” In town waters, he said, “there’s a few. Not enough to amount to anything.”

“No scallops this year,” Stuart Heath, a Montauk bayman, said. “Everything died.”

Barley Dunne, the director of the town’s shellfish hatchery, which seeds town waterways with scallops, clams, and oysters each year, was somewhat more hopeful. “It sounds like everything in the Peconics is dead,” he said yesterday, “but stuff in the inner harbors seems to be fine. I just got out of a Southampton water body and it’s pretty good. I’m seeing the usual level of dead, but a lot are alive, large, and healthy.”

But at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott, “It’s the worst of the worst news,” Alex Fausto said on Tuesday, referring to reports of a paltry harvest. “When they open in town waters, maybe it will be a little different. Who knows? But it looks very, very bad.”

With no sign of a usual culprit — the harmful algal blooms that decimated the region’s bay scallop population in the 1980s — causes including unusually high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen are seen as likely factors in mortality.

“Up until end of June, everything looked fine,” Stephen Tettelbach, a shellfish ecologist who conducts population surveys as part of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s shellfish restoration efforts, said yesterday. “There had been a really big set of scallops last year, especially in the western and central part of the Peconics. So the expectation, the hope was that this year was going to be a real good year.”

But sometime between the end of June and the beginning of last month, Dr. Tettelbach said, “there was a big die-off of adult scallops. When we went back on October 1, all through the month we saw population declines at different sites of 95, 99, even 100 percent at some locations. We really did not find any places where there were any real concentrations of high numbers of scallops.”

Dr. Tettelbach, who is a professor emeritus of biology at Long Island University, said algal blooms could not be responsible. “There’s been no brown tide in the Peconics since 1995. This year, there was basically no rust tide, which has been implicated as a cause for mortality in the past. . . . From all those pieces of information, it’s safe to say this was not due to a harmful algal bloom.” A bloom that affected scallops would likely have affected clams and oysters as well, he said. “There’s no indication of that.”

Another possibility — disease — was also unlikely, he said. “There’s a lot of juveniles. One would expect if it were a disease it would have affected both adults and juveniles.”

That leaves predation or environmental conditions, he said. “I’m leaning toward, at this point, high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen.” U.S. Geological Survey records for Orient Harbor and the mouth of the Peconic River, he said, proved those conditions this year.

“I’m leaning toward some physiological stress to adult scallops, probably related to spawning. Spawning is a stressful activity for scallops, and I’m guessing that the timing of spawning this year may have coincided to a large degree with high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen. I don’t have firm data, but that would be my best-guess conclusion. I’m saying that’s probably related to climate change.”

A wildcard, he said, is predation by fish, crabs, and whelks, “but that’s primarily taking place on juvenile scallops. There are a lot of blowfish this year. Our understanding is they primarily eat juvenile scallops, not adults, so I don’t think they can be the cause.”

Another possibility is the cownose ray, which Dr. Tettelbach said is primarily a southern species but one that was seen in local waters this year and has appeared here previously. “They are definitely animals that will and do eat adult scallops — in fact, they wiped out most of the population in North Carolina in the 1990s. One of the baymen from Southold told me he saw some of those in Hallock Bay this year, which is connected to Orient Harbor. They’re in the Peconic system, we just don’t know how many of them there are, and whether they could have caused this level of die-off.”

But, he added, “We saw lots of dead adult shells, which suggests a cause other than rays, because they will crush the shells.”

“That’s been debunked,” Mr. Dunne said of the cownose ray theory, “because the shells are intact. I don’t get it.”

“Friends who are in the oyster-growing business said this was one of the best years they’ve ever seen for oyster growth,” Dr. Tettelbach said.

But the proliferation of commercial and recreational oyster farming, Mr. Heath suspects, may be having an unintended consequence. “The water is crystal clear,” he said. “Everyone keeps raving about these oysters. I don’t think it’s such a good idea, because they’re competing for the algae” — not harmful blooms, but rather beneficial algae on which shellfish feed.

“In my opinion, everyone promoting the public growing oysters is a big mistake. . . . If there’s nothing in the water column for them to eat, how can they survive?” 

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