With butchering classes now de rigeur and the farm-to-table movement so firmly entrenched in restaurants all over the U.S., many joke that the next step can only be harvesting and slaughtering our own meals. We can all agree that's pretty far-fetched, but if the idea truly grabs you, fishing is probably the most accessible way to fill your fridge sustainably.
Call it sea-to-table, and although commercial fishing has wreaked havoc on the world's fish supply, pole-caught and hand-harvested seafood, especially the fish we have deemed the most sustainable, is still one of the most eco-friendly ways to forage for your dinner. Read on for five places to go fishing, sustainably.
Pacific Halibut – Homer and Seward, Alaska
Called “Alaska’s Halibut Capital, Homer is the best way to access the fish-rich waters of the Kachemak Bay, where an hour or so boat ride will get you into prime halibut territory. Seward is another good jumping off point. Leave your rod at home -- fishing charters like Crackerjack Sport Fishing will fully equip you.
Black Cod/Sable Fish – Coos Bay and North Bend, Ore.
Black cod fishing is not for beginners, but luckily cod season is also halibut season, so a deep-sea fishing trip off the Oregon coast also guarantees an encounter with halibut as well as sea trout and perhaps even tuna. Check out the local charters and guides on FishingCoosBay.com.
Oysters – Charleston, South Carolina
Recreational oyster harvesting is highly regulated from state to state, not only because of overfishing but also as a way to protect the public against diseases in shellfish like vibrosis. Before heading to one of the designated public beds, you’ll need a Saltwater Fishing License, but once that’s out of the way, wait for low tide, grab a bucket and dig.
Albacore Tuna – Santa Cruz, Calif.
Plentiful up and down the coast of California where they swim in the warm currents, albacore is especially bountiful off the coast of Santa Cruz. Fisherman usually only have to go about 5-10 miles offshore, and right now, during El Nino, is the best time to catch 90-pounders, according to Game and Fish magazine. Book a trip with Stagnaro Sport Fishing and Charters.
Season: Year-round; peak in May
Clams – Bar Harbor, Maine
Just like oysters, shellfish is extremely regulated, but clamming for steamers (soft shell clams) is a huge pastime in Maine. After getting a license (only $10 for one day), get a rake, some heavy gloves and a bucket and head to the open harvest areas. In Bar Harbor, the areas near Thomas Bay, Clark Cove and Indian Point are totally green-lit.
Season: May-August (red tides usually begin in late summer, early fall)