If you’re lucky enough to be a member of Long Island first community supported fishery, Dock to Dish, then you’d be getting the e-mails that founder Sean Barrett sends each week. They’re information packed and always include a recipe. This week he featured the in-season, it-fish, striped bass. There was a time when the fish was endangered and catches were severely restricted. Now, commercial fishermen and the wild stock have found equilibrium and sustainable methods are in use — the hallmark of Dock to Dish. Take a gander at Barrett’s newsletter below and hit the fish store for one of the finest fish the Atlantic Ocean provides.
Successful sourcing in local, wild, sustainable American fisheries requires a special vigilance to more than three dozen environmental factors that must be closely evaluated each night or morning before our boats set out, and constantly monitored while our fishermen are at sea. Our concerns range from wave height to cloud cover, water temperatures, precipitation, Gulf Stream proximity to shore (North Atlantic drift), near and distant storm systems, tide and moon cycles, catch limits, catch quotas, migration patterns, and so on.
Ultimately, one of the most important environmental factors of them all is the direction and strength of the wind, and any seasoned local fisherman will firmly emphasize the commonplace knowledge of many fishing villages and harbors around the world:
Winds from the east, and the fish bite the least.
As kindergarten simple as that adage may sound, it is the galvanized iron-cast law around here and the time-tested logic behind it could not be more straight forward.
East Coast Atlantic ocean currents and waves move predominantly clockwise from the west to the east (westerly), so when the wind is blowing in that same direction (westerly winds) the result is calm and smooth seas with minimal turbulence in the water column. Statistically, there is an astounding increase in successful fish hauls when westerly winds prevail because the water is clearer and the fish are most active.
Over the past few days, we have experienced winds blowing intermittently from both directions, yet Billy the Kid has fearlessly battled his way out of the inlet to his favorite fishing grounds every night since the commercial striped bass season opened on July 1.
After one of the most successful conservation efforts in recent decades, Atlantic striped bass stocks are now fully recovered and officially rated abundant and sustainable by NOAA FishWatch.
Due to its historical significance and importance in the recreational and commercial fisheries, the Striped Bass is now the official saltwater (marine) fish of the State of New York. For detailed and trustworthy information about the species, the science and the fishery please click here. For a recipe for striped bass with kale and yellow squash, click here.