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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is SF Bay fished out?

The December 2-7, 2010, edition of the East Bay Express features Alastair Bland's article, Is San Francisco Bay Fished Out? Even if you're not interested in California's fishery issues, the article is worth reading--the issues that Bland explores impact more than SF Bay's fishers, and more than the area that we think of as San Francisco Bay.

Reading the article made me realize that when I gaze out on the Bay's waters, I see only the surface. I don't see, and often don't think about, the ecosystem beneath the water's surface. I also don't keep in mind that the "boundary" between salt and fresh water is, if you'll forgive the pun, a fluid one. For example, the salmon fishery in California is one that can't be thought of in terms of "marine" or "fresh" waters--reading Bland's article reminded me that California's fishery issues can not be limited to discussions of catching the fish in the salty Bay's waters without considering the issues confronting the fishery upstream, in the fresh waters of the state's interior.

In addition, we can't limit our discussions to the fishers on the water--the issues facing the fisherman don't begin or end on the deck, but reach into the markets and restaurants where we consumers create the demand, and into the hearts of those of us devoted to that moment when we feel the tug of our dinner on the pole in our hands.

I recommend this article to anyone interested in any salt water fishery, past or present--Bland's featuring the fishers in SF Bay creates an awareness of the wider world in which the fish, the fishers, and the diners live. And when we keep in mind the fact that some fish are long-lived, long-distance champions, populating the oceans that circle the globe, it lends greater meaning to the resources, and traditions, that went into putting that filet on our plate.

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