Not much to report of late. Read a terribly depressing article in the NY Times about the plight of the American eel on the east coast of the US. Ugh. Another one bites the dust. It sure seemed to me when I was a kid that of all creatures on this earth, the rat, the pigeon and the eel were safe from extinction. But no.
MFN rhetorical query: What was the main course served at the first Thanksgiving ever? That's right, American eel! Poor Chief Squanto, what would he think of our stewardship of this land?
The American eel is fast disappearing. Thanks in large part to Japanese lust for unagi. Hard to blame the Japanese, I mean who doesn't like unagi? But for Neptune's sake, are we going to drive this species to extinction?
I for one am no longer eating unagi.
Honestly. Seriously. This is my favorite Japanese food item. I love unagi. But I'm done. You make your own decision. Eels are captured at the mouths of American rivers, shortly after spawning. They are then shipped across the seas to be reared in huge fish farms in China. The pens have all the same horrifying problems of noxious wastes, and mass production of environmentally calamitous parasites, that plague other fish farming operations. Unagi is one of the most unsustainable fisheries on earth, and what is more, the market for it is wiping out yet another native American fish species.
It's up to fish conscious people to decide whether they want to be a part of this disaster or not. I for one am opting out.
Look you really want eel? Go catch one of these guys :
(Yeah, I know it ain't the same... but maybe there's a way to get Monkeyface to taste like unagi, has anyone tried this?).
Unreals, yo. I could start to get worked up if I let myself.
Of course pollution, global warming, dams and habitat destruction are equal culprits in the decimation of the East Coast eel stocks. Heh heh. Sound familiar?
The End Of Catadromy
The American eel's life cycle is miraculous and poorly understood. Kind of like a reverse commute to a salmon. Spawning in the middle of the Atlantic and then traveling a thousand miles to spend the majority of its 30 year life-span in a river (the Hudson, Delaware, Connecticut etc). Until recently American eels represented a quarter of the total fish biomass of the coastal rivers of the Eastern US. A quarter! And now they are going bye bye! I could weep. (How did I not know about this?)
As a kid we just caught them, marveled at them, wiped the slime off our hands, and threw them back. I never really considered eating one. Of course no one ate anything out of the Hudson River back then, and this was before everyone became familiar with the total deliciousness that is unagi.
I'll have to look into this some more. Maybe some hippies in Oregon are raising eels in a totally environmentally sensitive and sustainable way? One can hope, right?
Anyway... here's a link to the article Tugboat Todd C., forwarded me. Who's Todd C. you ask? Oh, this guy:
Anyway here's the link:
From far to the west of the great eel weirs of Squanto, this is Lombard of The Intertidal, signing out!