Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yellow Tail Flounder: The Controversy

Its 4:35pm on a Monday afternoon and my email alert goes off on my phone. Wild Rhody fisherman sending the weeks projected landings. Small selection this week.  Fluke, Yellowtail Flounder , Skate.  The excitement of seeing the first of the season Yellowtail landings is always welcomed. Delicate, firm, white fleshed and sweet the yellowtail flounder is a New England Winter delicacy. Fish are no more than 2lbs, have a beautiful yellow tail and............ I'm torn
The Yellowtail flounder stock in many parts of the Northeast is over fished, on many red lists and no secret the fishery was in need of a little TLC.
Lucky for me in 2010 NOAA announced new measures intended to end overfishing and continue the rebuilding of Northeast groundfish such as cod and flounder.
For the first time ever, there was a cap on the amount of all groundfish of any species that are permitted to be caught. In addition, there were measures to mitigate if the catch limits are exceeded. These measures have provided some of the strongest safeguards to date for recovering groundfish stocks.
In addition to the new caps,  fishing vessels were now able fish with others as a group, or “sector.” Sectors, which are voluntary and formed each year are given a portion of the total available groundfish catch.
Fishermen who participate in fishing sectors have more control over where and how they want to fish in order to target healthy fish stocks and avoid the stocks in the worst condition and the fisherman must agree to stop fishing once the sector catches its allotment of fish.

I am fortunate to have developed relationships with fisherman who believe that by fishing in sectors they are fishing responsibly and part of the solutionn to help rebuild Yellowtail stock and continue to fish and provide for their families at the same time.
This is the information that's not  out in the open, making decisions to buy this species seems like the worst crime on earth on the surface. I do allot of research, ask allot of questions and get advice from those in the field both on the scientific side and fishing side. I feel confident that those I choose to support, fish responsibly. For me knowing that under the "sector" fishing method the fisherman are targeting healthy stocks by design and allowing poor stocks time to recover I'm comfortable buying some of these beauties. My guests and I will enjoy a New England delicacy for a few days. 100% traceable, fished responsibly and by far some of the  highest quality fish in the city of Boston.

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