Kim England was having her Christmas Party for her staff....we could do whatever we wanted, and she wouldn't care.....she would actually LIKE it. We could flex our stuff, and people would appreciate it. What a concept.
First step: the salmon. Our salmon guy was not delivering on Wednesday. The meat guys (Sierra Meat, Marina) had an offer for Puget Sound Wild Salmon........$6.50 per pound, fileted. Awright. We pay $4.5o normally....but after 26 parties in 21 days...why not?
Their drivers are immigrants, and so illegal that they haven't yet figured out how to use cell phones. This is not third world......it is fourth or fifth world. (The last time I couldn't figure out my cell phone esoterica, I stopped a vato and he hooked me up). I finally find the guy and load up my meat and fish. I fail to register that the fish comes in a plain waxed box, covered in crushed ice.
When I got to the kitchen and unloaded, the box collapsed, and dumped fish juice all in the Jag. Grrrrrr. Then I noticed that the fish was FRESH!!!! In December. Gotta be Farm Fish. I called Sierra. The sales lady reassured me that all was good. Puget Sound, wild, fresh, legal. I called my regular fish guys: they said ''Bullshit....call Fish and Game.'' I called Sierra back, asked for the owner. He claimed ignorance, and bumped me to the buyer, Bob Furter. (Really, Bob Furter is the meat company buyer.....not his brother Frank). Bob reassured me again.
I called Fish and Game. They had no clue about anything beyond California. So, I called Washington. Six numbers later, I got the Salmon Guy. Nope, no fresh salmon in Washington. You can't even POACH it....there are no fish. Once and a while you get an Indian with a lost steelhead. I had 3.5 pound fileted sides, pale pink, each side exactly the same size as the others. Not steelhead. FARM FISH!!! The devil!!!!
I called Furter back. He swore up and down it was legal, Puget Sound, wild fish. I demanded to know his source, and mentioned Fish and Game. He gave up Royal Seafood in Monterey......Gino. Gino was a standup guy and would call me. Gino did call. He also swore up and down: legal, Puget Sound, wild, fresh. I mentioned that there are no legal, open seasons in North America. He said I was wrong. I mentioned Fish and Game. He hung tough. I mentioned the Department of Agriculture, our Congressman, the local sheriff, the city police. He finally gave up his source, Ifama Seafood in San Jose. ''Fuck you, I have an invoice that says 'Wild Salmon'. Fuck you and the Fish and Game.''
I called local Fish and Game and got enforcement. I told my story. The guy asked me to describe the fish: ''Pale pink, uniform side, no labels, fin erosion?'' Yup. He said he had no real jurisdiciton....out of state fish. I said, ''I know, but this guy is a motherfucker, and could you just roll up with your lights and badge and fuck with him?" The F&G guy said, "Yeah, why not? He is an obvious asshole. Everyone knows there is no legal, fresh, wild salmon in December." Your tax dollars at work!
I called Ifama, and got the owner, Kevin.... at lunch. He was reluctant to diss his big customer at first. When I mentioned that Gino had bumped the blame to him.......he said, ''Fuck him for being a lying cocksucker.....'' It turns out that Kevin works regularly with Fish and Game enforcement keeping things kosher.
I continued calling: Rep. Sam Farr; the County Ag Commissioner; USDA; Department of Consumer Affairs; Federal Trade Commission; Monterey County Sheriff Fraud Squad; Monterey City cops; Monterey City business license; local TV, local newspaper, local radio. No one had any jurisdiction or interest in pursuing a guy selling an utterly fraudulent product on a masssive scale.
Not just an utterly fraudulent product. Farm fish is the devil. I am adding the Salmon Nation link to our blog......check it out. http://www.salmonnation.com/tour/01_SLIDE.htm
Let me summarize:
1)Crowding: Fish are packed in cages at 100 times the natural density. The resultant stress affects the quality of the meat of the fish, and severely suppresses the natural immune system. Constant banging and bitining of close kept carnivores leads to open wounds that become infected.
2) Poop. The cages rest in quiet bays. The salmon excreta from a typical farm is equal to the untreated sewage of a city of 7500 souls. The oxygen is stripped from the water; toxic algae blooms are common; e coli, salmonella, etc contaminate local ecosystems and other fisheries.
3) Toxins. Salmon are fed fish meal and oil, considered by the European Union to be the most heavily contaminated feed materials. Farm fish have ten times the PCB, dioxin and mercury content of wild fish.
4) Disease. In 1997, before the industry took off, in British Columbia alone farmers used 6.4 metric tonnes of antibiotics. These are water-distributed, and wind up in smaller concentrations in other fisheries, crabs, oysters, etc. This increases the anti-biotic resistant bacteria in all species, and in humans. Pesticides are used to kill rampant infestations of sea lice, to little avail. Sea lice infestations escape to the wild fish. In Ireland, the wild trout have been wiped out in half the west coast rivers by sea lice from salmon farms. Infectious salmon anemia (ISA) is another beauty that escapes from farms into the wild....kind of a Salmon AIDS. In nature, sick fish are eaten by predators. In farms they are kept alive by antibiotics and chemicals. Increasingly virulent strains of disease and parasites are amplified in farms, and transferred to the wild.
5) Dye. Wild fish eat krill, which is rich in natural coloring. Farm fish eat other fish, no coloring. Their natural coloring is a disgusting blue-gray. Dye is added to their feed.....enabling us to track illegal cocksuckers like Gino at Royal Seafood in the lab with the dye markers.
6) Invaders. Salmon Farmers like east coast salmon....Atlantic Salmon. They fatten faster. Unfortunately, the fish escape. Now we have a significant portion of farm bred fish competing with their wild cousins. In the East, there are virtually no wild fish left. 99% of the ''wild'' catch is domestic raised stock. Kind of like going to Montana to shoot a wolf.....and finding poodles.
7) Killings. Salmon Farmers shoot mass quantities of sea lions. Come to think of it....fuck the sea lions.
8) Less food. Salmon farms are a rich-country conceit. Salmon require 3 pounds of fish for every pound they produce. The fish the farm salmon eat are lower on the food chain, and lower on the economic chain: mullet and trash fish, diseased fish, cannery by-product. Almost all come from third and fourth world sources. The more farm salmon we consume, the more fish we are destroying....by a factor of THREE. In a given ecosystem, 68% more fish need to be destroyed to support a farm fish.
Other scary shit: The natural wild salmon cycle is controlled by a million different things: weather, sea conditions, krill, fresh water sources......on and on. The population swings up and down based on these natural factors. The farm salmon population is affected only by commercial demand: the more demand, the more fish produced. The more trash fish swept out to support an artificially high harvest, the more toxins and excreta into the ecosystem, etc. The economic effect is hugely unstablilizing to the ecologic system.
Local economics: Because of dumbshit motherfuckers like Gino at Royal Seafood and innocent (?) dupes like Bob at Sierra Meat.....local fisherman specializing in wild fish are forced to compete against farm fish. The cost of diesel to go out and search for wild fish forces the local guy to catch a certain amount of fish just to break even. If Cocksucker Gino and Innocent (?) Dupe Bob are buying farm fish for $2-3 a pound, it trashes the value of our beautiful wild fish. If the value of the wild fish is trashed, so is the income of our local fisherman.......source of a large part of our historic and cultural history.
Ten years ago, I got pissed at this. Salmon fisherman were being paid $1.17 a pound for wild fish. I said ''Fuck it!'' and said I would pay $5 for wild fish. Everyone laughed at the the hippie from Carmel Valley.....while fish were plentiful. When fish got tight, I got first choice. Ted from PassionFish joined us. Before long, you finally saw a disconnect between farm and wild fish prices. In the old days, when fish were cheap, a typical restaurant portion might have been as much as a pound of flesh.....at least a half pound. We serve 5 oz, perfectly cooked. Therefore, I can afford to pay three times the price as the pound-a-serving-guy. Revere the food, take care of it, teach your customers to revere it as well. How hard is that?
But, if the suppliers who we trust to tell us the truth don't know wild from farmed (Right!!), how is the consumer to know? I had to spend four hours of a busy, hectic day to find the truth about my supplier.....and I am an informed, motivated professional with decades of experience on the battleground. And the cocksuckers almost got me! What is the consumer to do?
Call Sam Farr. This is bullshit. Sam is a standup guy, and the only man around that can cut through the shit. Call the office. Ask him to make it a crime to misrepresent the origin of food fish. How about an economic tax on farm fish to ameliorate the negative effects of farm fishing?
Alright. I saved the REALLY scary shit for those that are still with me. There is an industry called OOA....Open Ocean Aquaculture. Like miserable bitch DiFi, they seek to pretend to embrace coastal environmental concerns while pursuing an amazingly destructive long term plantery goal: Control of the oceans.
Three to 200 miles off the coast of our shores is a zone known as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Open Ocean Aquaculture consists of floating or submerged net pens moored to the ocean bottoms. Key federal policy makers envision OOA as the future of aquaculture.
The policy as it currently is managed envisions deeding permanently parts of the EEZ to private companies. Fish farms are given permanent rights to the entire water column.....floor to surface. The ocean, like space, has always been considered part of the commons.....something to be shared by all mankind. This is the thin edge of the wedge...dividing up the ocean for commercial advantage.....at the expense of the commons.
Check out the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy: http://www.iatp.org/fish/