Off the Hook: Community Supported Fisheries
So, you’ve heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – perhaps you even get a fabulous box of farm fresh local produce every week – but have you heard of Community Supported Fisheries?
Well, in case you haven’t heard, Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs) [and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)] are enterprises that work to connect consumers to locally and sustainably grown, fairly traded foods. Nova Scotia is now among the first to have a CSF and all thanks to a co-op of five fishermen (as well as the Marine folks at the Ecology Action Centre!), calling themselves “Off the Hook” (http://www.offthehookcsf.ca/).
So how does it work you ask? Well, you (or you and a friend) sign up and purchase a “share”, paying up front for the season. Then, each week of that season, you pick up your fish – within 24 hours of the catch – from a set location in HRM, Wolfville or Annapolis Royal. Here’s how their website explains it: “By investing in a share of Off the Hook’s catch at the start of the fishing season, you’re supporting local fishermen, coastal communities, and a low-impact fishing method. In exchange, you will receive weekly deliveries of the insanely fresh, high quality whole groundfish caught in the Bay of Fundy with a bottom hook and line. You will also get a chance to meet the fishermen who caught your supper and learn more about what it takes to get a fish from the ocean to your plate.” My housemate and I signed up for the Fall season which was four weeks, with the fish arriving each Thursday late afternoon for pickup.
This past Thursday, I picked up my last CSF share of the season – sad huh? [Sorry folks but there is always next year – oh, and a rumour of lobster this winter!) At the pickup site, fishing members and their families, along with Off the Hook and EAC staff and volunteers, weigh and wrap up your fish. I have been transporting mine by bike – in fact, my fish usually comes to yoga with me before heading home for supper.
Earlier in the season, Off the Hook did a number of demos on how to fillet a fish. (They also made a short how to video available on their website.) I didn’t catch a demo – and I like to keep things super simple – so I’ve been cooking my fish whole each week. Here’s what I like to do:
1. Butter a pan and lay out the whole fish on it.
2. Stuff the fish (the fishermen gut them before pickup) with sliced onions, mushrooms and lemon.
3. Mix up a few spices and rub them on the skin – fresh garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper.
[I love butter so I usually drop a few small cubes of butter on the cut veggies and on the skin.]
4. Then bake it in the oven at about 400 degrees. The fish are pretty big so about 40 minutes is my suggestion.
-To make a whole meal on one pan, I add cubed potatoes and carrots (you could add any veggies really) to the fish/pan – and a bit more butter – and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
So easy and so delicious! It tastes – and feels – great to eat local, sustainably harvested fish! Oh, and you get to meet the fishermen! This is Tony…
There just happens to be a CSF talk happening this Thursday so, if you want to know more, come on by! Here’s the info:
This Thursday, November 4th, Off the Hook CSF (offthehookCSf.ca) will be hosting a short information session about issues in today’s Bay of Fundy small-scale bottom hook and line fishery.
We’ll be at The Hub (1673 Barrington Street) between 12:30 and 1:30 pm.
Feel free to bring your lunch, so you can munch while you learn a bit about how the fishing gear works, how the quotas and politics are structured, and some of the issues Off the Hook CSF’s fishing members face to protect their livelihoods. You’ll also hve the chance to have any of your other burning questions answered by the fishermen and coordinators.
Please RSVP to sadie@offthehookCSF.ca– space is limited for this session.
Yours in fish, Keltie