If you’re like me, you’re often mistaken for Brad Pitt in public and you’re highly allergic to shellfish. So when someone tells me that they have something that will taste just like lobster but won’t leave me in anaphylactic shock, I am all ears. That is, until they also tell me that the name of said something is actually “trash fish”.
According to the Associated Press, chefs around the country are beginning to take the future of the ocean into account when it comes to stocking their restaurants’ menus with the day’s freshest fish. In order to turn people on to new tastes and breeds of otherwise “worthless” fish, they’re taking so-called trash fish and turning them into delicious alternatives to salmon and tuna.
“The fishermen would be like, ‘This is all trash, junk,’ but I said, ‘I’ll pay fair price for it if you’ll bring it back to the dock,'” says James Clark, the restaurant’s executive chef. “Eat some butter-poached scorpion fish and you’ll swear it’s lobster.”
Chefs such as Clark go beyond the usual recommendation to eat small, lower-food-chain fish like sardines, and instead delve full force into little-known local catches that many anglers regard as nuisance or “trash” fish. Clark’s menu also offers triggerfish, drum, white grunt and other obscure species. (Via the Denver Post)
Additionally, Andy Sharpless, head of the ocean conservation group Oceana, says that with only a few of the countries that provide all of the world’s fish currently giving a crap about laws and conservation, it’s important for people to open their taste buds to new experiences.
These countries have the legal authority to manage the fisheries off their shores without the hassle of international agreements that govern the high seas and the fish that swim in them — the tuna and other large, popular species. The United States, Chile and the European Union already have viable plans to protect nurseries and manage catch limits, Sharpless says. Getting the remaining seven countries on board, he says, would double the world’s available seafood by 2050.
“The oceans can play a very big part in making sure people have healthy and good food to eat between now and 2050,” Sharpless says. “The goal of restoring those oceans to abundance is more achievable than people have generally understood.”
So far the trash fish fad seems to be going well, and I’m all for trying different types of fish for the sake of my health and Mother Nature’s health, just as long as these chefs remember to cut my Fugu fish properly.