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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Sunday, April 15, 2007
Trolling the South Pacific

Out of concern that many of my readers think Steve and I are actually in the South Pacific today, I bring into this narrative a dose of real-time stuff. First of all, in the throes of a cold wet winter here in Washington State, I set about to mind travel on a journey to the tropics and to fulfill a request to recount some of our fishing experiences. This tale occurred fifteen years ago and Steve is currently fishing in Southern California for sardines with the F/V Papa George.

Recently I attended a yearly meeting with our tuna marketing association, WFOA, in Astoria, OR. One of my friends was startled to see me because she had heard that I was fishing in the South Pacific. I could only wish that it was true. With tuna trolling, one must live in the moment and enjoy it or else be miserable. It is amazing that so many folks I have met envy this lifestyle and yet have no idea as to the amount of time it takes to be out there, fishing day to day on the open ocean. This is the reason I have set out to tell a few tales about life at sea, first as a tuna troller, and eventually going back to the nineteen seventies through 2000 as a salmon seiner in Alaska and Washington.

The most stunning news at the WFOA meeting was the scientific news on the role of selenium in salt-water fish. We listened to Dr. Laura Raymond explain that selenium and mercury bind together and neutralize any potentially harmful effects of mercury. Nature has provided for the occurance of mercury in fish by supplying a large amount of selenium vs. mercury ( a 15:1 ration in albacore) so that mercury is cancelled out. Sixteen of the 25 best sources for selenium are ocean fish.

In addition to this great research was the release of a twelve year study of the effects of seafood consumption on the neurological development of babies and children. Basically, the result was that mothers who ate seafood three or more times a week had smarter kids with higher IQ's and better developmental skills than mothers who ate no fish. To quote one of the scientists in this study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, Dr. Joseph Hibbeln suggests, " Advice that limits seafood consumption might reduce the intake of nutrients necessary for optimum neurolgical development." This statement is in the face of all the dier warnings about seafood and should make the government agencies rethink their pronouncements against eating saltwater fish. In essence, there is no mercury crisis in saltwater fish! And again with feeling, "Seafood is Brain Food." I have always believed that Papa George Gourmet Albacore is a wonderful tasty source for Omega-3's and that the mercury issue pales in the face of the excellent nutrition offered by our tuna.
PS. I must refute the advertisement at the top of this page which says tuna causes brain rot. Papa George Tuna does not endorse this ad and again remains steadfast against attempts to demonize tuna as a harmful food source.


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