This past Sunday I went to sea off Hout bay in search of tuna, the weather in the morning was incredibly unpleasant, cold and bumpy.
I had a videographer on board to capture some of our day so we can share and show our story to our customers, how we fish and the impacts we have with our style of harvest so that the consumers are best informed to make their choices.
Tuna are amazing predators, perfectly designed to cut through the water at high speeds, with big eyes to visually hunt down prey such as sardine, garfish, squids and many of the other bait fish that congregate off cape point where our nutrient rich cold Benguela current mixes with the warm waters of the Mozambican current.
Tuna can also be lazy and enjoy picking up a free meal from behind the trawlers from the fish that gets discarded along with all the waste products that are dumped dead back into the sea.
While fishing behind this trawler for the day we saw the net come up several times, each with around 5ton of fish all squashed into the back of the net. The birds that dive around the net, seals and other marine mammals all trying to get a scrap of food to eat is so surreal.
The videographer on the day was speechless. I asked him what was wrong while I saw this look of horror on his face. He told me he knew that fish fingers and other processed fish crumbed products came from trawlers but he never realized that it was this hectic. He said what he saw come up in one net was more than what we will probably catch for the month. More so than the sheer volume of the catch he said he could not believe that the net was so indiscriminate and had all sorts of species inside and sticking out this net. To top it off he mentioned that it feels like no respect is given to each fish’s life as an individual and that they are all simply lumped together. I think he has been put off the frozen fish isle at the local retail store for life.
This is happening daily, but the average person is not exposed to seeing this first hand. Consumers know it happens but its out of sight and out of mind, I’m sure the same is experienced in chicken batteries and cattle farms.
So what does one do? At the end of the day everything any one of us does has an impact on our wonderful planet. That cup of coffee, forests have been removed to create coffee bean plantations, driving to work, oil has been taken out the ground, placed in barrels and then shipped half way across the world.
I like to think of it as saving starfish.
“there once was an old man walking down the beach after a big storm, millions of starfish had washed ashore, the old man bent over picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the water, he walked on a few meters lent over and picked up another starfish and tossed it back in to the water too. Along came a young man and asked the old man what he was doing? The young man told the old man that he was crazy as their where so many star fish washed out on the beach that he would never make a difference, the old man looked at the young man and said, but I have made a difference, for those 2 starfish.”
If we can each make a small difference, combined it will amount to something great. Be informed about your seafood, how it was caught and where it comes from.