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Sitka, AK

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Frozen-at-Sea Alaskan Salmon 

The Invisible Elephant

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The Invisible Elephant

dylan lared

There is an inherent philosophical tension within the idea of starting a Community Supported Fishery in the Rocky Mountains. It's an obvious elephant in the room, so why bother trying to keep it hidden? I am attempting to connect a gastronomic community with a fishing community located thousands of miles away. Say it, how am I not just another contributor to the globalization of food resources? How can I claim to be a member of the food-sustainability movement and still plan on airfreighting product to my customers? 

In the vein of the NPR radio essay series by a related title, let me tell you a few things I believe. Firstly, I believe that it is not impossible to remain a sustainable industry and still transport food sizable distances. Would it be more sustainable to only purchase food produced within walking distance? Absolutely. Would I prefer to be bringing you fish by means of helium-filled-pedal-powered-dirigible? I'm working on that one. The fact is the term 'sustainable' has so many more inferences than simple CO2 output. It is more sustainable to support a fishery overseen by biological experts and regulated according to scientific, rather than economic, standards than one on the brink of ecological collapse (see Jaired Diamond's book, Collapse, for a discussion of the international tuna fleet and under-regulation). It is better - I make a value judgement for all of us here - to invest in an industry that sustains the people and communities who depend on it economically and culturally; an industry that relies on, and has a vested interest in maintaining, the vitality of our oceans rather than one - I point not subtilely at offshore fish farming - which introduces hosts of pollutants and disease into marine environments. Not to mention the grossly inefficient use of food resources that sustains the farmed fish industry in the form of mulch, etc. And, ultimately, I believe it is more sustainable to consume a food product caught, processed, and brought to you by individuals you know in a manner you approve of than one veiled in the mystery of mass-market-meat-production with the chemical cocktail of hormones, antibiotics, and artificial colorings that it entails. 

I suppose in many ways this entire discussion could wait, at least until after Seashaken has come to rival Whole Foods and Sam's Club as the proletariat's favored source of marine protein (notice my wishful use of the future tense, we at Seashaken are ever unconditional). And yet, it is a conversation I feel the need to have, for myself at least, from the very beginning. I have walked away from too many so-called 'sustainable' restaurants and supermarkets enraged by their blatant hypocrisy after finding out their seafood special was farmed salmon or Chilean Seabass. I do not want to become another distributor of sustainable-ish seafood. Too many food suppliers run on the premise of profitable mediocrity for my taste. So, here is the last thing I believe (for today): we can always become better. John Stuart Mill calls man a "progressive being", not electorally but existentially. Seashaken can be a progressive business in that it can always aim at being a little better, a little more sustainable. I believe that this must be a goal from the very beginning precisely so as not to become the west's finest purveyor of desiccated, semi-decayed farmed flounder. So, yes, someday I hope to be bringing you fish by bicycle-powered-zeppelin. I just need your help to do it.