We were recently blessed with an opportunity to drive across America to see some family and natural beauty. I am going to let pictures tell this story of traveling from coast to coast with many stops along the way including the middle of Nowhere.
Rather than doubling down on failed fishery management policies that focus on restricting our freedom to fish, why don’t we use more proven management tools that focus on enhancing our fisheries and food supply?
Rather than letting global corporations set up industrial fish farming operations in our public waters, why don’t we use hatcheries and habitat enhancements to blend the best of aquaculture and wild-caught seafood?
Rather than ignoring habitat issues that negatively impact spawning, why don’t we help mother nature overcome spawning obstacles by regionally stocking native larval-stage seafood that can naturally reproduce?
Rather than accepting stricter regulations and diminishing access to wild-caught seafood, why don’t we work toward making our public fisheries the best they can be while keeping fish and fishermen wild and free?
Working as a fisheries advocate for the past decade has provided unique insight into a variety of public resource management issues. The Corona Virus crisis has highlighted a need to think about how we manage our resources in the future to provide maximum benefit for the public. There is very little opposition to giving most adults a check that will help individuals with our finances while also helping stabilize the entire economy. We are all going through this pandemic together, but we will all go through private struggles in life when financial aid would be helpful. Some politicians have proposed permanently giving every citizen a monthly payment.
What if we could create new revenue from public resources to pay for that kind of program? What if rather than subsidizing global corporations to exploit our public resources, we formed public/private partnerships to sustainably utilize them? There are three key things civilized society requires to stay civilized. Those are food, water, and power. Our coastal waters can provide all of these in ways that benefit everyone and our environment. Hatcheries that stock native seafood can promote food security. Solar desalination of salt water can provide an almost endless supply of fresh water that creates a new revenue stream to help make those monthly payments. Wind, solar, and tidal energy can generate a sustainable supply of clean energy that also creates new revenue we can use to fund the program.
Current events make this a great time to think about how we can minimize the negative impacts of future disruptions. Some will say these ideas border on socialism when they are really a liberating way of using the free market and our public resources to promote security and prosperity for everyone. This concept can also be a model for self-governance with official oversight.
The year 2020 is a good time to think about how we would like to see our fisheries and other public resources managed. We need to consider solutions that benefit everyone and the environment as we form a clear vision for responsibly managing our resources. Preserving our freedom to access public resources should be a guiding principle. The internet gives us a wonderful opportunity to communicate and coordinate like never before. We have the power to influence public officials and their policies at our fingertips. We can set an example for self-governance with official oversight that can be applied in other areas. We can secure or even expand the individual liberties that collectively make us free people. We can also do nothing as special interests across the globe work hard to seize control of our public resources while restricting our freedom to access them. The choice is yours and the time is now. Will you join me in supporting solutions that promote freedom, food security, and eco-friendly prosperity?
This trip started with a slow boat ride to the inlet as we bucked a strong incoming tide. We got to see pelicans diving in the distance and passed close by some of the successful ones basking in the sun digesting their morning’s catch.
Four hours later we arrived at the first mark and fished around until dark catching the tasty snapper Walking Fish customers would soon enjoy. Several close ships convinced me to move inshore a few miles out of the shipping lanes for the night.
We started working around five the following morning to finish catching enough fish before we had to make the long run home in time to unload. The snapper were hungry and the sea was calm as we enjoyed watching a waning moon sink into the western horizon.
We took special care to preserve the freshness of your Vermilion Snapper that are also known as beeliners. They got that nickname long ago when fishermen did not carry as much ice and had to make a beeline for the market before their snapper lost the pretty red color consumers like to see.
Vermilion Snapper have a delicate and slightly sweet meat that I will usually fry or blacken with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic. Hope you enjoy your fresh fish as much as I
Leave a comment with your contact info if you are interested in learning how you can purchase some of the delicious seafood we responsibly harvest for the Walking Fish Co-op.
Our trip started with a beautiful ride out beside many other boats including the classic Capt. Stacy VII. We passed Cape Lookout and crossed the shoals to fish the east side. This was my first time crossing the shallow shoals in several years. These shoals can be a dangerous place with shifting sands and breaking waves. On a trip across them many years ago we were hit by a huge wave that spun our 35’ boat around like a toy. We read the water and picked a path that avoided breakers around shallow areas.
The fishing was kind of slow as we picked at Black Sea Bass, a few Gag Grouper, and some nice Red Snapper that had to be released. The 20 pound snapper in this picture was suffering from barotrauma and would have floated off and died if we did not help it. We used a Descending Device that releases fish at a depth where the gas in them recompresses to the point they can swim home. We have taken scientists out to study the effectiveness of these devices. Research shows that almost every floating fish dies while 90% of fish released with a Descending Device live. This is another way we try to be responsible
fishermen. There is a good chance we could keep most of the 500,000+ pounds of Red Snapper that are allocated to dead Regulatory Discards every year if more fishermen used these devices.
The ride home got a little sporty as the wind and waves picked up but our boat handled it well. There is always a feeling of relief as we approach the port and safe harbor. A pretty sunset was the perfect ending to a memorable
Memorial Day on the water.
We pack our fish in plenty of ice to preserve them so the meat is firm and fresh. Bass have a flaky white meat that is delicious. We sautéed a few fillets in butter and Caribbean spices with a splash of lemon last night. We also fried a couple of pieces along with some tasty grouper livers. Fresh NC seafood is hard to beat. My goal is to provide you with the highest quality fish possible while sharing the experience through photos and words. I also hope to educate consumers and concerned citizens about positive solutions that will allow us to more responsibly harvest NC seafood.
I will be traveling the Country this year giving speeches, doing interviews, and talking with anyone who will listen about America's fisheries. My wife and I recently returned from a trip to California where fishermen told me stories that sounded very similar to what we are facing on the east coast. The fishery bureaucrats are attacking one small group of fishermen at a time while denying consumers access to American seafood. We need to unite our efforts and get consumers to support a responsible harvest of this great Nation's seafood by independent fishermen.
Here is a summary of what my wife and I were blessed to see on the trip cross country.
We saw colorful century old fishing boats with seasoned crews of old salts along coastal California. We saw Sea Lions and Elephant Seals sunning on rocky beaches with patches of sea fog obscuring the bright blue sky. We saw the results of last year's tsunami that unleashed its awesome power on Crescent City. We saw velvet antlered Elk grazing among the majestic Redwoods. We saw winding mountain roads with dark lightning storms in the distance as the setting sun lit up the landscape with brilliant light. We saw California mountain summits covered with freshly fallen snow in June. We saw the salt flats in Nevada where an ancient ocean once flooded the barren landscape. We saw graceful Antelope in Wyoming with their young fawns. We saw fertile fields of grain and corn through the heartland of Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. We saw the mighty Mississippi River rushing south as we traveled east. We saw the lush Appalachian Mountians rise from flat lands to peaks with every hue of green blending seamlessly. We finally arrived on the east coast at Baltimore Harbor where Francis Scott Key wrote our beautiful National Anthem as he watched Old Glory flying high over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812. God Bless America.
Here are a few links to songs that our trip reminded me of.
Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU
America, the Beautiful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LINsNCaxZ5U
Star Spangled Banner Whitney Houston http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupsPg5H6aE
Please sign this petition asking Congress not to ratify the UN's Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).