KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: San Francisco Oil Spill & Our Local Fishing Industry
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
No Crab for Christmas
Gracias por los Campesinos
The Hangtown Fry
Chocolate + Whisky Tasting at WhiskyFest 2007
Finding Ravioli
100-Mile Thanksgiving, De Afghanan Kabob, King Cor...
Interview with Aaron Woolf, Director of "King Corn...
Gyoza Stadium!
Bitter Sweet: The Price of Sugar
Hellenic American Imports
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Monday, November 12, 2007
San Francisco Oil Spill & Our Local Fishing Industry

As Stephanie reported on Sunday, the largest casualty to our food chain due to the November 7 San Francisco Oil Spill seems to be the Dungeness Crab season.

As each day passes, more information is learned about the effects of the oil spill. While the focus of the fishing disaster has been on the Dungeness crab -- one of the Bay Area's most well known harvests of the year -- the Bay Area also depends on local waters for many other seafood crops. Most notably during this time of year the Bay Area also harvests:

• Mackerel
• Salmon
• Sardines
• Oysters
• Herring
• Squid

Oysters were one of the early victims of this oil spill.

Once oil drifted to the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, it arrived at Drake's Bay Oyster Company, an oyster farm that provides oysters to many Bay Area customers. Oysters, along with other types of shellfish, eat by filtering water. When that water is contaminated, the shellfish goes bad and is not fit for human consumption. "If we lose that part of the food chain, we'll lose the next in line," says Kathy Fosmark, the Co-Chairman of the Alliance of Communities for Sustainable Fisheries, referring to bait fish and krill. According to the San Jose Mercury-News, Drake's Bay Oyster Company has temporarily closed due to oil contamination.

I spoke to Ms. Fosmark and her husband, Steve Fosmark -- an owner/operator and fisherman from Monterey County, on Monday afternoon. "From what I am hearing, this is going to be catastrophic," stated Mr. Fosmark.

"Fishermen are coming down on the lean side of a salmon year. A lot of the people who salmon fish then do crab," said Ms. Fosmark, "This is the last thing that they need."

Herring is the San Francisco Bay's only commercially fished species. According to one source, a "possible recommendation to not open in December is being considered." Typically, herring season would be open by December and any delay in that season will mean a hit to the pockets of the fishermen.

Many of the fishermen don't even know any more than we do at this point. Mr. and Mrs. Fosmark were watching the same news that we have all been watching for the past few days, waiting to hear their fates from press conferences and the Associated Press and local news stations.

The frustration among fishermen is palpable. While news reports are of successful beach clean-ups and oil wrangling, the fishermen are frustrated that the real story of the effect on the environment and the fishing industry is not being told. "Excuse me but I must go puke my guts out," stated one anonymous email from a fisherman.

Chances that the average Bay Area consumer will notice a difference in their fish counter are slim. "We get oysters from all up and down the coast," said Brian from Swan Oyster Depot on Monday. He went on to say that they had to change their source from Drake's Bay to other oyster companies from farther afield this week. "But we're always going to have oysters."

I selfishly asked about the local anchovies and sardines, as they are my most common purchase from Swan Oyster Depot. Brian told me, "the anchovies and sardines come from the Monterey area, and as far as I know that hasn't been affected." Swan's buyers will purchase Dungeness crab from Oregon until the local harvest starts to come in.

The main lesson of the day is that more will be revealed. At this point, we know very little, but the chances that this oil spill could prove catastrophic for local fishermen are high. The main thing that we can do is to keep on top of the story, and support local fishermen with our dollars when they are able to bring healthy, abundant fish to our fish counters.

Updated, 11/13, 3:00 pm:

The Governor has suspended fishing and crabbing until December 1 at the earliest. From the Chronicle article:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order late this morning suspending all fishing and crabbing for human consumption in areas affected by the Cosco Busan fuel spill until at least Dec. 1. The ban includes all of San Francisco Bay, along with affected shorelines, coastlines and waters of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,



Anonymous Ellen said...

this is so tragic

11/13/2007 11:47 AM

Blogger Marc said...

A class action lawsuit by the commercial fishers against the shipping company seems like a good idea, but I bet it would be years before they got a dime.

It seems like something else is needed, like a federal or state trust fund that is filled by a tax on the fuel that ships use. In the event of an crisis like this, the fund could make zero interest loans or grants to those affected by the environmental damage until the situation improves.

11/13/2007 7:52 PM

Blogger Unofficialski said...

I found an great blog through TelstartLogistics.com it is http://gcaptain.com and their blog is written by a ship captain with very smart insight into the incident. -TK

11/14/2007 3:37 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.