|<< Upwelling Front Page | << Previous Article in Upwelling (1 of 4) | Next Article in Upwelling (3 of 4) >>|
Linda Hunter, Executive Director of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary
LH: This book is gorgeous, Paul. Not only is it full of delicious recipes and beautiful photographs but it delivers a sustainable seafood message with compelling prose. Why did you decide to write Fish Forever?
PJ: The book really wrote itself. When I first began to write what I had in mind was a book about “Fish Alley”, that’s San Francisco’s equivalent of Fulton Fish Market. I wanted to write about the history, the characters and my experiences, then pepper it with fish lore and recipes. But the more I wrote, the more the issues of sustainability and health took over.
These are the issues that are really important to the chefs and consumers that I deal with on a daily basis. Bay area chefs and consumers are highly educated, intelligent and thoughtful; the questions they’ve asked me time and again through the years form the heart of the book.
LH: Have you noticed a change in the availability of local Bay Area seafood?
PJ: When I first started in the seafood business 90% of the fish I sold was local and 10% was from elsewhere. Today, I think those figures have come close to turning upside-down, 10% local and 90% elsewhere. Air freight has made seafood a global commodity – on the one hand this is not good for the environment but on the other it has made our choices much more interesting and diverse.
More importantly, what this change represents is the depletion of local fisheries and the disappearance of the small boat fishermen. Much of the blame for this can be attributed to poor fishery management policies throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. Fortunately, we have moved into an era of improved management – unfortunately, many of our fishermen are paying for the sins of the past.
One of the most important things for me is to support small boat artisan fishermen and local, seasonal fisheries.
LH: We are so fortunate to have so many excellent food choices and so many wonderful chefs who "get it" when it comes to using local, organic ingredients - as well as sustainable seafood. Do you think this message is being heard in other cities around the country or around the world?
PJ: Yes, but not to the same extent as in the Bay Area. Bay area chefs and consumers are the most aware, concerned and well educated in the world. The questions they ask, the support they give raises the bar higher than anywhere else. You can see this reflected in the quality and selection of foods we have here. The Bay Area led the way to fresh and seasonal, and now we’ll lead the way to local, organic and sustainable.
LH: What's a typical day like for a seafood purveyor?
PJ: Hard, dirty, cold, wet and long.
LH: Can you share with Upwelling readers what seafood is available right now that you consider a "best" seafood choice?
PJ: Dungeness crabs, sardines and squid are all in season now, local and well managed. I really like; Charcoal-Grilled Dungeness crabs, Crispy Bread-Crumb- Coated Fresh Sardine Salad with Herbed Mustard Dressing and Sauteed Squid with Hot and Sweet Chiles and Shredded Ginger.
*Sunday, December 16 Fish Forever book signing party with author Paul Johnson at Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco from 12 to 3pm.
|© 2005-2006 Farallones Marine
All Rights Reserved.