Wild Steelhead on The Menu

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Bob Triggs, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    Getting organized in the effort to educate restaurant owners and chefs on the current status of our Wild Steelhead has been a scattergun process. Some few successes pale in the shadow of the so many places where Wild Steelhead remain openly touted on Chef's Blogs and restaurant websites and food reviews. Once informed most restaurants remove the offering. Fish sellers, wholesale buyers and sellers, are less willing to remove our Wild Steelhead from their lists, yet some have done so after reviewing contemporary data.

    I have found some search options helpful using Google and Google Blogs as the search sites. Searching: " Chef's Blog Menu Wild Steelhead " , or; "Fresh Wild Steelhead Menu" has turned up numerous other regional and distant establishments who offer Olympic Peninsula Wild Steelhead on their menus.

    The combination of personal emails and blog comments, visits and phone calls etc., and our providing the most current data available, has proven most effective. Threats, innuendo and abusive attacks not so much. These places rarely get positive educational input from the public. So when hundreds of people write in on an issue they ttake notice. Most restaurant owners and Chefs do care about sustainable food resources and public opinion. There is no need to be unkind. There is a very strong need for factual information and positive public support. The educational aspect is what makes the difference. Try doing searches on that basis and see if you aren't surprised to find quite a few. Try "Steelhead Cakes" for instance, also terms like "Broiled Steelhead", "Grilled Steelhead", "Sauteed Steelhead etc. Most people offering Wild Steelhead will capitolize on the word "Wild". But some will only use the term "Steelhead " in an affort to avoid the "educational blitz". Don't forget to give appropriate props to those who heed the call.
     
  2. speyday

    speyday Rod tubes in the overhead compartment

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    Thanks ! Good stuff.
     
  3. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    "The Key" is public education, legislative action, and coming up with a positive compensation to stop continued harvest of Olympic Peninsula Wild Steelhead. The short term gain of removing these wild fish from the menu will not stop the netting or shift in distribution to other markets. If the price drops they will only sell more of them for crab/halibut bait, exports etc.
     
  4. orangeradish

    orangeradish Bobo approved

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    You have got to be shitting me. I just puked in my mouth a little. Does that really happen???:beathead::beathead::beathead:
     
  5. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    It did a few years ago when prices tanked, but ex-vessel price of steelhead is back up so that it goes to fresh seafood markets.

    Sg
     
  6. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    Just goes to show the "co-managers" have no respect for the fish as anything but a commodity.
     
  7. gt

    gt Active Member

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    geez evan, you just wake up to the fact that the co-managers are all about bucks??

    i have tried, and maybe some of you should also, to get monteray bay aquarium to list the pacific steelhead as threatened on its sustainable sea food 'card'. to date i have not been able to convince these folks of the wisdom in such a listing. please, give it a go, perhaps with more folks raising their attention quotient, who knows............

    seafoodwatch@mbayaq.org
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    GT, no need to take a shot at Evan, in my opinion, he's trying to increase awareness. Perhaps the greater number of people that know about the plight of steelhead then perhaps the greater the chance to do something about it. You, of all people, should appreicate that based on your continued posts about saving the resource.

    Great point on seafoodwatch. I have sent them a handful of requests to list pacific northwest steelhead. So far all they have said is they will take it under consideration. Maybe more folks make that request and it convinces them. That might be a good domino to put into place. As it topples it might knock down some other barriers to steelhead conservation.

    I'm not trying to be an ass, just thinking that creating rifts is not consistent with unification of voices.
     
  9. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Some folks just have a gift for winning allies and converting those on the fence with their rational, reasoned, arguments.

    A challenge that this issue faces is that WDFW, in its infinite wisdom (hopefully, no one is in the middle of swallowing) allows anyone with a valid fishing freshwater fishing license to harvest one steelhead from OP rivers. To an outsider, how can these fish be in trouble if the agency lawfully mandated to regulate them allows recreational harvest (and commercial harvest by co-managers, for whom salmonids are intertwined historically with religious belief and economic prosperity).

    Frankly, while I understand the frustrations that are leading folks to target local retailers, but the whole situation reminds of the game "whack a mole". As soon as you shame one retailer to stop, another appears (or the fish make a plane ride beyond our local view). Make individual tribes (there aren't many that have treaty rights to the West End rivers) an offer / deal / whatever that they can agree to. If you are not talking to the fishery biologists and tribal leaders about this issue, you really are just treating symptoms.

    Steve
     
  10. Stewart

    Stewart Skunk Happens

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    gt has some curmudgeon on him :D, brush it off. I always read his salmon/steelhead posts. I feel like I'm getting a shortcut. Many of us are either too young or to ignorant to have the knowledge that folks like him and Salmo g pump out, but we are sopping it up. Time to send that email to Monteray Bay Aquarium.
     
  11. Chef

    Chef New Member

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    Bob: You should come and talk with students at culinary schools. Would you like to come talk with my students and educate them on this subject?
     
  12. Wilken

    Wilken Member

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    Thanks for providing a reality check Cabezon. Your comments are right on! If people are committed to saving wild steelhead from extinction, they need to stop fishing for them! Given the status quo, it is only a matter of time before the OP rivers follow the PS rivers down the road of depletion and eventual stock collapse. For all of you armchair biologists that are sitting there saying "yeah right, our OP steelhead will never go away" my response is "I'm sure native steelhead fishers said the same thing about PS rivers 3 decades ago and look at the state of that resource now!". Do you want to cause additional mortality via C and R or harvest fishing or do you want to know that wild steelhead still exist. Your choice. Given the present management, increasing pressure on OP fisheries and the trajectory of the resource, I don't think you can have both for the long haul. Check my logic in 20 years!
     
  13. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    i think that if the people who cared the most about wild steelhead hung up their rods, it would do next to nothing to slow down the decline.

    that might be why many are fighting to change the status quo. i agree that the coastal OP rivers are heading the way of PS but some of the OP rivers are already there, since most of the rivers on the western Strait of Juan de Fuca were part of the recent early closure announcement.

    who's saying that OP steelhead are immune from stock collapse?

    i agree that we are at a point where action needs to be taken, but i do think we can back away from the cliff if we make real changes. whether that can happen with the politics involved (tribal, hatcheries, city of forks meddling, etc) is another matter.

    you have a point about looking in the mirror when it comes to our own actions. what can we as individuals do to make a difference, even if it's small? i know that i choose to fish less effective techniques, don't fish out of a boat, and don't attempt to ring up numbers fishing for steelhead. that's my choice after looking in the mirror. while i disagree with some of the points you make, i think that the idea that looking at our own actions is positive, even if any changes are a drop in the bucket when it comes to the directed kill fishery and hatchery impacts on wild fish. one still has to look at themselves in the mirror.
     
  14. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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  15. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Going after restaurants is great but we should also go after distributors. Here is one that lists 'wild steelhead' as a 'product': http://www.pacseafood.com/default.aspx?page=153

    Also, I sometimes wonder if what many restaurants are listing as 'wild steelhead' are really steelhead. The triploids grown in the Rufus Woods Net Pens are marketed as 'steelhead' - and it is legal to do so. There are very specific rules in the RCW for salmon labeling but there are none for steelhead labeling and that is one law I'd like to see changed. Farmed trout should be labeled as trout, not steelhead, but it is legal and widely done. Here is a menu item from King's Fish House, a restaurant chain in CA and AZ. They are trying to get it right and list it under their farmed, sustainable fish part of the menu:

    Cedar Planked Columbia River Steelhead . . . . $20.75
    Chief Joseph Fish Farm, Columbia River, Washington

    However, when the public sees 'steelhead' on the menu, whether wild or farmed, it probably is hard for them to understand/believe that they are imperiled. Getting a steelhead labeling law passed would probably be tough though as aquaculture is big business and they are cashing in on the 'steelhead' name.

    Here is an excerpt from Pacific Aquaculture's newsletter this fall that talks about their steelhead product:

    Farmed Steelhead
    "Pacific Aquaculture continues production to provide a premium fresh steelhead from the Columbia River. New improvements in the farm sites have allowed for increased capacity which will help meet the demand. Expect increased availability in May of 2011. Our Pacific Northwest Steelhead is free of any and all hormones, pesticides, herbicides or growth promoting antibiotics. The feed is made from all natural ingredients to provide high quality and healthy product. Chile is ramping up production and we will see a few coming out of BC, Canada next month."
     
  16. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

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    I wonder if someone knows a restaurant reviewer at any of the papers who might be willing to take this up?

    Do any of the younger guys/gals know someone at The Stranger or The Weekly who might do a piece on threatened steelhead and/or their appearance on menus? I only look at these free papers rarely but understand they are widely read by urban folks interested in sustainability issues.

    Just a couple of thoughts about how to get a wider audience for preservation of our resource.

    Steve
     

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