The abalone was trying to escape. And, for the last few minutes, I had been formulating a plan to assist it. I lifted the ceramic lid again. The mollusc was still firmly attached but its strong muscular foot was slowly curling toward the rim. Anthropomorphizing is a tricky business, so I hesitate to say it knew it was in mortal peril. Still, it was clear that it did not want to be in that dish and, by extension, part of my meal. That made two of us. I looked around the room at my companions. All were engrossed in the contents of their own platters, eliciting the kind of focus required for a dining experience that had thus far been a bucket list of foreign tastes: shark heart carpaccio, sea urchin roe, greenling sashimi, a gelatinous cube of anglerfish, and a heaping portion of raw cod testes. Would they notice if I slipped the abalone into the folds of my yukata robe? Would they care? A Japanese woman in a floral kimono re-entered the room. Our server. She crouched near my platter with a smile and lit the fuel canister under the dish containing the abalone. If we were going to make a break for it, it was now or never.
Tomorrow is World Oceans Day. Today I am eating apricots. These small, pastel orange fruits always remind me of warm evenings at the beach. And, I’m not quite sure why (although I assume some higher level organic chemistry is involved), but the delightful taste produced when the sweetness of their flesh mixes with the saltiness of the air seems to provide me with the best circumstances for contemplating life. But, while one would probably assume that my current thoughts are organizing themselves into an exciting post in honour of this special day, the truth is, they’re not. Because I don’t really know what to say. Of course this dilemma is not for lack of want, or knowledge of the subject matter; it is because—for the first time in my life—I am trying to decide how I feel about the ocean. Well, not the ocean itself. More specifically, the future of the ocean. And how young fisheries scientists, like myself, fit in.
OK, so I figure that since I mentioned sustainable seafood in my last post, and also because I said I’d discuss it in future posts, there’s no reason for me not to write about it now. (Holy negatives, Batman. Sorry, must be Monday…) I’ll try to keep it simple and include a nice practical application (i.e. dinner) at the end.
In a general sense, the term sustainable is probably the biggest environmental buzzword of the 2000s. Well, maybe it’s tied with climate change. And fair trade is gaining momentum. At any rate, people toss around sustainable in relation to pretty much any and every natural resource. But I’ve come to realize that, in many cases, this word is both poorly defined and understood. And, sometimes, it’s just downright misused. And while sustainability is only one very, very small piece of the complicated mess that is global fisheries, it’s still an important concept—for anyone who eats seafood.