Plenty of Fish in the Sea & BBQ Pollock Recipe
More than 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported from other parts of the world. With that alarming statistic in mind, the Gloucester Fishermens’ Wives Association established Cape Ann Fresh Catch (CAFC) in 2008 in order to encourage local consumers to appreciate the variety and quality of New England seafood. CAFC was one of the country’s first Community Supported Fisheries (CSF), and is currently the largest of 38 operating Community Supported Fisheries organizations in the United States.
A Community Supported Fishery supports local fishermen in much the same way a Community Supported Agriculture program supports local farmers. Members purchase shares that provide income for the participating fishing vessels at the beginning of a season, and then receive distributions on a regular basis. Cape Ann Fresh Catch currently has about 500 shareholders and 21 distribution locations across Massachusetts, with a registration base of more than 1500 members who’ve participated in the program since its inception.
With lots of news about overfishing, challenges to sustainability, and the dwindling stocks of seafood on the east coast, it can be confusing to decide what to buy at the fish market. There’s no question that fish is a good source of protein and nutrition, but it can be expensive, and the impact of different fishing methods on the environment isn’t always clear. Membership in a CSF helps consumers address some of those concerns. The CSF provides expanded, sustainable markets for local fishermen and reduces the carbon footprint of seafood dinners by ensuring local consumption. The money exchanged stays within the local economy, and the shareholders receive the freshest possible fish.
CAFC’s goal is to enable Massachusetts fishing boats to receive a fair price for their catch and to promote underused species from the Gulf of Maine, primarily local “groundfish” – fish that swim close to the sea floor, such as cod, hake, haddock, pollock, whiting and the flatfishes like yellowtail flounder and grey sole. All of CAFC’s seafood is sustainably caught, and swordfish are caught via short line or harpoon; there is no long line fishing, which can cause incidental death of other marine species.
Costs vary from about $5/pound for whole fish shares to $15/pound for one-pound weekly filet shares. Shareholders may on occasion end up paying a bit more than market price for fish, but do so with the understanding that they’re supporting a struggling local industry and reaping the considerable bounty of one of North America’s oldest commercial fishing grounds. Those of us lucky enough to live near the coast have a unique opportunity to enjoy some truly diverse local foods from the land and the sea, and CAFC’s success is a reflection of the way New Englanders appreciate that opportunity.
Cape Ann Fresh Catch will offer samples of local seafood, including fish stew and fish burgers, at September’s Local Food Festival. There’s nothing like a truly fresh catch! Check out this recipe below for Barbeque Pollock from CAFC’s Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Cook Books which can be found on their website at capeannfreshcatch.org
Cape Ann Fresh Catch Pollock fillets, or other fish fillets
1/4 cup melted fat
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard
kidney beans and rice, cooked
1 cup chopped onions
1 can tomatoes ( 1 pound 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
If the fillets are frozen, let them thaw. Cut fish into pieces about an inch square. Fry onion in fat until well cooked. Add everything except beans and rice. Cover and cook slowly for 15 minutes until fish flakes easily. Serve the barbeque over cooked beans and rice.