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.
No, I haven’t been hospitalized with Hep C, or died from piercing-induced septicaemia— although either of those would make for a good excuse as well as an amusing obit. I’ve just been rather busy with my thesis, so writing for pleasure has been non-existant these last few weeks. And yet, before I launch into my main topic for this post, I just want to mention a recent study led by my supervisor and including the work of several of my fisheries colleagues at UBC. The methodology they used was pretty much the same as described in my Sherlock Holmes post, and the ultimate findings of their research suggest that China under-reports its foreign catch by over 90%. If you would like to read a bit more about the real-world implications of these inaccuracies, and how the theoretical concept of catch reconstructing actually translates into applicable knowledge, give this article a go. (Hopefully I will be able to share my own published catch reconstruction in a couple of months, but that’ll all depend on the review process and whether or not it gets accepted right away.)
Anyway, now to the topic that I’ve been meaning to write for about a month…