Friday, March 22, 2013

McNamara's big wave: How the technology of personal water craft changed the sport of surfing

On January 28, 2013, Garret McNamara broke his own world record by riding an estimated 100-foot wave off the coast of Nazare, Portugal. While the wave has yet to be officially measured (experts say it is between 85-100 feet high), it's clear that McNamara has broken his previous record of the 78-foot wave he rode last year in the same location. I find it very difficult to imagine what a 100-foot wave would resemble.  So here's a picture: That's McNamara surfing down the side of that wave.

Big wave surfing has risen to prominence in recent years because of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. The 2013 cycle for entries actually ended March 20. The rules for Big Wave Award given by Billabong are thus:

The Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award will be won by the surfer who, by any means available, catches and successfully rides the single biggest wave of the year based on objective analysis and measurement of the available images. The prize will be awarded in the amount of $15,000.  The photographer who captures the winning still or video image will be awarded $4,000. 

There are other awards, including "Ride of the Year" ($50,000) and "The Monster Paddle Award" ($15,000). The Ride of the Year is given to a rider by a panel of judges based on the most committed and advanced level of big wave surfing during a single successful run. The Monster Paddle Award is more telling: it goes to the individual who self-paddles and manages to ride the biggest wave based on available photographic evidence. So what's the difference between the "Monster Paddle" and "Big Wave"?  

Often, when people who aren't surfers, or who don't think about surfing that much in their daily lives, imagine surfing, they visualize a sport that hasn't changed in recent years. People go out with a surf board, they hop on and paddle out, and then they ride that wave towards the shore. They hop off and repeat. Sometimes, in my mind at least, they look like Patrick Swayze and rob banks and surf forever because "he's not coming back."

Point Break actually contains a lot of information about big wave surfing. Big wave surfers travel the world looking for breaks- perfect ocean terrains that allow waves to break further bigger and better, so that they swell big without curling and crashing too soon. You don't get a 100 foot wave just anywhere in the world and there are a few places, at only a few times of year, that this type of break occurs. Big breaks have well known names- "Jaws" in Maui, "Mavericks" in Northern California, "Cloudbreak" in Fiji, "Ghost Tree" in Northern California, and "Torquay"- the point break at Bell's Beach, Australia featured in the clip above. Waves break for various topographical reasons- a point break is when a wall of water hits an elevated point of land or rocks jutting out from the coast line. There are also reef breaks, sand breaks, and shore breaks- all of which you can extrapolate the definition based on that of a point break. Nazare, on the coast of Portugal, is a shore break- waves break as they run into shallow land closer to shore. But there is also something really special about Nazare's underwater topography that makes it a perfect place for catching huge waves: running vertical to the shoreline is an underwater canyon 16,000 feet deep (that's almost 3X the Grand Canyon's depths). This canyon has been described as an arrow pointing directly at the shore line. As waves approach the shore, they are funneled into this canyon. Deep water becomes focused as the water fills this canyon and what was a fairly flat deep wave becomes higher and higher as it approaches the shore. By the time it breaks, the wave is enormous. During the winter, when storms hit Portugal at just the right angle, the waves become monstrous. And that's when the big wave surfers arrive. 

So, what's the big deal? How is this new if people have been searching for these waves forever? Well, big wave surfing is still about the wave riding, but it doesn't involve much paddling. In the Point Break clip above, a surfer calls those waves "death on a stick" and to someone paddling out, or trying to ride, or even getting back in, they would be. But jet skis have allowed surfers to go after bigger waves, ratcheting up their rides and the risks involved. 

If you check out the clip below of McNamara's ride, you'll see he's never alone in the water- there is always a jet ski near him while he's riding. There are multiple reasons for this. The first is that he would have never gotten on the wave without the help of the jet ski. In big wave surfing, a jet ski pilot takes the ski out to the place where the waves break, pulling a surfer behind on a rope line. The jet ski gets the surfer close enough to "catch" the wave and then gets out of the way before the wave takes the craft as well. This type of surfing is called "tow-in" surfing and it allows big wave surfers to catch bigger and bigger breaks.

BIG MONDAY the video from Surftotal TV on Vimeo.

Jet skis also perform two other functions. The first is that they pick the surfer up after their ride. Big wave surfing involves big wipe outs- and these wipe outs can be deadly if the surfer isn't picked up out of the water soon. Surfers can be knocked unconscious by their own boards, or get smashed on the rock breaks, and if they are pitted and can't get out of the surf on their own, they are going to have to endure break after overhead break underwater. The likelihood of severe injury or death is high. So jet skis are near by to pluck a surfer out of the water and whisk them away from danger. If they weren't there, the death toll from big wave surfing would probably be dramatic (Or more devastating than it already is). 

In addition, jet skis carry photographers and videographers.  If you notice the awards given by Billabong, you'll notice that a. you can't win a surfing award without photos and video for judges to inspect and b. photographers are also part of the award. It isn't enough that you ride a large wave, the photos and videos count as evidence. Where ever there's a big wave surfer, there's a photographer waiting to put it on film. Many of these guys sit on the back of jet skis or in boats (if the waves permit) and capture these runs at the risk to their own lives. 

Big wave surfing such as McNamara demonstrated on Jan 28, 2013 wouldn't be possible without jet skis. It's a fairly new sport (tow-in surfing was popularized in 1992 by Laird Hamilton and Derrick Doerner), and an extremely dangerous one. Without jet skis in the area, death is a definite threat. 

Jet skis sparked debates in Northern California at "Mavericks" in 2011 when a surfer, Sion Milosky, died while surfing. Surfers in the area blamed the ban on personalized water crafts in the area, and pushed for a year round ski patrol to assist surfers in trouble. The ban on water craft in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary began in 1994. Jet skis were restricted to four areas of the Sanctuary, one of which included "Mavericks"; later it was decided that personalized water craft would only be allowed at the popular surf spot when the National Weather Service declared a high-surf warning. During the high-surf warning, tow-in surfing was allowed. The concern on the use of water craft was for local fauna- it is a nesting site for many bird species and there is a nearby rookery for seals. It also hosts migrating gray whales and sea otters have been seen in the area. 

The fight over the ban erupted at the death of Milosky, and the near death of another surfer earlier in the 2011 season. The battle for jet skis at Mavericks still continues. Who knows the right answer. Breaks are singular events and surfers take certain breaks and rides seriously- but it does seem to me to be a personal risk- one that doesn't have to be mediated by the federal or local government. There are marine sanctuaries for a reason. Surfers who complain that they must tow-in surf, or that they must have a jet ski to save their comrades when the going gets tough, blame the local government for not providing these services. But is it the job of the government to keep surfers safe if they chose to ride big waves? 

Surfing has changed in the last 20 years- the introduction of tow-in surfing, and the competition to ride bigger and bigger waves has created a sporting arms race that is potentially deadly for everyone involved. But it is also amazing. Surfers search out these epic events based on meteorological and topographical data. I can't imagine a hundred foot wave- let alone imagine riding one. But these men and women are committed to this sport- and to pushing it beyond the boundaries set by human limitations. The technology of jet skis and other personal water craft has allowed boundary expansion. 

If you're interested in big waves surfing, or big waves in general, I suggest you check out The Wave by Susan Casey. Casey was creative director for Outside Magazine and helped to develop and edit the pieces for Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, and Blue Crush. The Wave examines all aspects of big waves- the physics behind trying to understand them, the current excitement around big wave riding, and my favorite part, the history of rogue waves. During the Rogue Wave chapter she looks at the amount of ships lost to rogue waves throughout history- visiting Lloyd's of London and interviewing wrecking crews who rescue these ships. The book is really entertaining and well written. 

I'm off to watch Point Break and dream about the beach. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding Fault with Us All: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Civil Trial

A bird covered in oil after the DWHOS on the Louisiana Coast

If you read this blog, you might know that I get a lot of my daily news from the New York Times. There's a personal reason for this- when I was a freshman at Florida State in my very first class ever (Intro to Cultural Anthropology) an old professor pronounced that any young adult that did not read at least one print news publication of a creditable variety (he gave us a list) would never be a good citizen. Worthless Slugs. The list was pretty even as far as political leanings- NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Guardian, and several others. I chose the NYTimes because a. we got it free everyday on campus and b. they had a food, fashion, and arts section- my favorite things to waste time reading instead of reading the actual world and national news. Knowing what critics are saying about the newest Met Opera debut made me feel cosmopolitan, even if I had never been to New York before.

This week, I'm regretting my decisions. The New York Times is really letting me down and the Guardian is picking up the slack. On what you wonder? The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Civil Trial (DWHOSCT).

Last October, a judge in New Orleans made the choice to move the start of the civil trial to Feb. 25, 2013 because of fears that the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras would disrupt the proceedings. I thought this was a bit fishy: the trial is important but business can be conducted in cities that hold big events. Should we continuously push back much needed judicial cases because of the Super Bowl? And then I thought, how very American. And then I thought- what does this move suggest about how much attention the American public, and press, give the event? More, because they don't have those pesky football games to work around? Or less, because really after the Super Bowl we're all too exhausted until March Madness to do much of anything but finish leftover french onion dip and feel bad about the amount of football shaped cupcakes we consumed? Well, I don't know how many cupcakes the New York Times consumed during Super Bowl Sunday, but they must be pretty tired to have dropped the ball on reporting so much. In fact, it seems every major news outlet must still be in a food coma- where's the coverage?

The DWHOSCT is going on, and man is it a doozie. I'm not even sure I could do justice to the crazy shit storm of obvious corner cutting the American government and BP seemingly engaged in to practically assure the destruction of the Gulf Coast ecosystem and economy. They actually couldn't have done a better job of causing major destruction if they had actually set out to do so; it was that poorly/well planned. So let's take a look at how not just BP is responsible, shall we?

The MMS and the mysterious "walruses" in the Gulf of Mexico:

Ever head of the Mineral Management Services? Maybe not. It's okay- they don't exist anymore- they are now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Following the DWHOS it was found that MMS was actually not really a "management" service at all, but something along the lines of a terribly lazy, blind Cerberus easily bribed by sex, money, and the promise of high paying positions in oil companies. If it were a Sphinx, it would probably have just asked you to pull its finger. The MMS was created in 1982 and had two major jobs: collecting oil and gas drilling revenues for the government and overseeing and approving permits that generate that revenue. They were torn in half from the beginning- should they allow as many drilling permits as possible to enhance revenue, or should they deny obviously dangerous and foolhardy plans without thought to the impact on revenues?

In the end, it seems that the more the United States government and the American public imbued the price of gas with the signification of proper leadership (I'll come back to this later), the push came to allow more and more ill-formed plans to get through the gates. At the beginning of Obama's administration, in an effort to get gas prices down and to perhaps appease right-leaning politicians with some cowtowing that seemed less tree-hugger and more "Drill, baby, Drill", the President exempted BP from an important environmental impact analysis required by companies before MMS signed off on permits for drilling.

It is clear that not only was the environmental impact analysis not required, but knowledge of the surrounding environment wasn't apparently required at all. In BP's formal 583-page Gulf Spill Response Plan, they calculated that the largest spill that could occur would would last up to 30 days and had a 20 percent chance of reaching the shore. In addition, they listed the wildlife resources in the area as "walruses, sea otters, seals, and sea lions." There was no listed plan on how to respond to a deep sea blowout.  Just in case you haven't been to the Gulf (or you wrote this plan and are reading this) none of those organisms live in the Gulf Coast. BP had no idea what surrounded their drilling operation, they low balled the risk, and they didn't include any plan for a disastrous situation that was not unforeseen.

Most MMS employees were former oil rig workers or administrators. Old Buddies. Risks were not noted, the permit was given, and the damage was definitely done. To read a really amazing story written in 2010 at the Denver Post at the MMS scandal, click here. (unless you're an angry person already and then I wouldn't read that because you'll probably throw your computer at a kitten or something equally horrid)  Let's move on to BP's role in this mess.

British Petroleum:

11 men died aboard the drilling platform during the explosion. Randy Ezell, a survivor, testified at the Civil Trial on March  5, 2013.

1. BP, and the Former CEO Tony Hayward, have been accused of cutting corners on safety measures to ensure more profits for shareholders. According to employees and consultants say they continually told BP management, quite pointedly, that there were safety issues. Bob Bea, a consultant with BP (who has worked in some way on just about every major disaster in the last 30 years- Columbia shuttle explosion, Exxon Valdez, PetroBas P36) said he warned BP that safety measures were no joke. According to Bea, the cornerstone of safety in BPs industry is the operating management system (OMS). He reports that this system has greatly increased safety throughout BPs operations. But, the system was never put into place on the DWH oil rig. Bea suggests that this was to cut costs in that operation, but Tony Hayward denies this claim. Regardless of the he said/ he said, it remains clear that others had major concerns about safety on BP rigs. Kevin Lacey, who gave testimony after Tony Hayward, was a drilling official for BPs operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Lacey resigned several months before the Oil Spill, citing concerns about cost cutting and safety concerns. Lacey said he felt pressured to cut costs by cutting safety.

2. Another major point that has come up in the trial is the misinterpretation of a test performed an hour before the drill explosion. This is an especially tricky issue- of the 11 men who died on the drilling rig, 1 of the men is considered to the be the (mis)interpreter of this test. Jason Andersen, a "toolpusher" on the rig (a term on non landlocked rigs that means boss or management) Other reports have suggested that another leader on the rig, Donald Vidrine (a well site leader), contacted a BP engineer on shore an hour before the explosion to discuss the recent test and results (a call which is in question), which he also apparently "misinterpreted." The test in question showed abnormally high pressure readings in the well, which were apparently interpreted by Andersen as "bladder effect" an interpretation that officials say Vidrine and the other well site manager Robert Kaluza, should not have believed scientifically sound at the time. Both Vidrine and Kaluza have been indicted on manslaughter charges and await their own trial. According to officials, if Andersen's report had been questioned, or if the engineers who might have spoken to Vidrine from onshore had been properly concerned with safety, they would have taken the test as indication to shut the well down immediately- thereby diverting the whole disaster. Randy Ezell, the first man who survived the explosion to testify had few answers as to Andersen's motives- he may have just misinterpreted the results, simple as that. But lawyers are more concerned about the systematic interpretation of concerning results by BP officials, perhaps stemming for a corporate inclination to try to skirt disaster by barreling through the drilling process.

So far, we have lack of government oversight and some great corporate cost cutting. But what is the public's role in this farce? Let's bring in the clowns!


American's are super oil crazy. We love our huge gas guzzling cars and low gas prices. Who doesn't? During the last election cycle, people got it into their heads that a. the President can do a lot to reduce gas prices and that b. one of the things he could do is to increase drilling on American soil. Well, heads up people: there are multiple factors that determine the price of gas, many are out of control of our government, and one of the things that appears to influence gas prices the least is drilling in America. Truth: according to economists, US supply and increase in drilling doesn't really make a difference in the cost of oil because the cost is a global market thing and American produced oil is, pun intended, a drop in the bucket. Check it out. There's a destructive feedback mechanism operating in the American Psyche right now- Politicians mistakenly point to gas prices as a problem that can be helped by more drilling; the public picks this up- agrees drilling is awesome and that they would love to be able to afford to take their family of 6 to Yellowstone in a rented Hummer this summer-Politicians hear the outcry of the American public and are reassured that drilling will solve everything.  Of course, we should be able to trust politicians to know when things are false promises, but since most of their business involves making them (and some dude in Washington State apparently believes bicyclers are causing major CO2 problems and has ruined my belief in the intelligence or scientific knowledge of elected officials) and I'm convinced you don't even have to literate to be in Congress these days, let's make a point: the blame partially falls on the American public. We've bought gas and the Drill Drill Drill narrative hook, line, and sinker. And now we're paying dearly. Apparently all the walruses are extinct in the Gulf and only BP knew they were there! No, seriously. We're paying with a continued blindness towards the real issue: many new drilling schemes are unsafe (check out my earlier post on Artic Drilling) and they won't make a dent in the world oil economy. We need to be thinking about alternative energy or even just how to downgrade our expectations of gas prices.

What's at Stake:

Finally, I thought I'd write a little something on what's at stake in this whole circus. Obviously, the goal of the trial is to ascertain ultimate blame for the disaster. Far be it me to say who's at fault, as I've just laid out a particularly horrible network of fault for all of us (read this article for more spreading of blame). How many of the people or organizations that I've mentioned are indictable? But here's the thing: if the court finds BP merely "responsible" the pay out will be something like 3.5 billion in fines. If they are ruled "grossly negligent", that's 17.6 billion. This fine would be added to the 20 or 30$ billion they've already paid out for various economic impacts in the region. The Gulf States have just filed a lawsuit for damages up to 34$ billion. The total bill for BP could amount to almost 90$ Billion US. The Washington Post claims this is too much- something you can decide for yourself. But it doesn't fully account for the stake in this mess.

Just yesterday, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu called for the EPA to lift the restrictions it has placed on BP's drilling operations because of concerns regarding "lack of business integrity." The restrictions block BP from securing sensitive government contracts, even though it does nothing to previous contracts which BP an still operate according to those agreements. Landrieu suggests that these restrictions constitute a "double jeopardy" for BP- they've got to fight in court and for government contracts. You can make up your mind about this issue as well- although I will weigh in by saying that it appears Landrieu has learned absolutely nothing about the cost of making huge mistakes. I'm always a little confused how the South can be so hard on petty crime and so light on corporate greed and the fact that their people get the shaft constantly.

Finally, the biggest stake for me is that the public doesn't seem to be watching anymore. This trial offers an amazing resource for understanding the dangers of a topic that has divided American politics in recent decades.  In the last election, energy independence, gas prices, and off shore drilling were huge topics- yet it doesn't seem that people are interested in understand what went wrong- both with government oversight and corporate corner cutting. The American public is allowing this trial to proceed as if it was merely a formality- when in fact it should be one of the biggest fact finding missions for future decision making during energy debates. The fact that BP did not settle out of court should have the American public jumping for joy- for once we get answers to huge questions about corporate negligence. But instead, the story is being buried in the press and ignored by the very people who were injured the most by this disaster. Almost all of the up-to-date articles utilized in the post were written by The Guardian. While the Huffington Post has published several pieces, it appears other major media outlets have dropped the ball. Why?

I'm going to continue to follow the trial- and I'll keep this blog updated. But I beg you- check the facts for yourself. Do it for the endangered Gulf Coast sea otter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Loving Fish to Death: Dwindling Stocks, Consumer Expectations, and the Rest of the Fish in the Sea

It's Lent, so fish has been on my mind lately. During Lent (Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday), Catholics around the world abstain from eating meat on Fridays- instead, they eat fish. In Southeastern Missouri (the boot heel) where I grew up, Lent is a great time of year because fish on Fridays equals the ubiquitous "fish fry". The local church, fire station, VFW, Elks Club, etc. get at many catfish as humanly (or humanely) possible, coat them in batter, and fry them up.  Seriously, so good. In the boot heel, catfish is king. But this isn't the case everywhere in America. Last year, I attended a fish fry in Wisconsin that served bluegill, walleye, perch, cod, and haddock. Wisconsinites take the fish fry so seriously, they have whole websites dedicated to finding the perfect fish fry.

I covet this fish fry. Wisconsin knows how to fry fishes!

The fish fry is only one way that Americans have developed a cultural link with fish consumption. Americans prefer to consume certain varieties of fish for a wide array of reasons: on Jewish holidays, a common dish served is gefilte fish. Look it up: it's not my favorite but it's not totally the worst thing ever (I reserve that for pickled herring).  Popular dishes such as whitefish salad (which I have a huge craving for right this moment), tuna salad, smoked salmon, and a billion other popular dishes available widely in delis and restaurants throughout the country. In addition to traditional dishes listed above, the healthcare profession continuously highlights certain fish varieties as "Power Foods". According to the Cleveland Clinic, out of three protein power foods listed, two are fish- salmon and tuna. The message, if you want to eat right, consume these two types of fish.

So this is great, right? Eating fish is part of cultural and social life, and on the plus side, super good for you! Bad news though: often the most popular and "power"ful fish varieties are also the most over fished.

The Friday Fish Fry is an old tradition, and Mark Kurlansky actually pinpoints Europe's quest for friday-fish as the initial reason that America was discovered. According to Mark Kurlansky's book Codcod became a  staple in medieval European diets. England, France, Spain, Portugal, and many other countries utilized the cod fisheries off of Newfoundland to import thousands and millions of pounds of salted and fresh fish into the European market. Europe's obsession with cod is not merely historical; according to the WWF, Western Europe accounts for 70-80% of cod consumption on the world market. Europeans love cod and its place in traditional friday fish fries transferred nicely to the US- a country where fishermen didn't have to go far to get that popular fish. In Massachusetts, whole towns were built around the fishing industry, with one of the largest catches being cod. Chatham, MA fishermen could count on plentiful and consistent catches throughout the year- and the fishing was so consistent that they developed a system of "day boat" deliveries- fish could be caught and shipped to New York City within 36 hours, ensuring the freshest fish dining experience possible (unless people in NYC caught their own fish and then cooked it- something I don't think factors into the article for a lot of reasons). But these days are over: the Northeastern (Newfoundland) Cod grounds officially collapsed in the 1990s. Canada placed a moratorium on cod fishing in 1995, and after ten years they believe that the population is starting to rebound, but there is still a long way to go. This January, the United States once again decided to lower their fishing catches because the cod numbers have not rebounded like officials believed they would. (check out this interesting video detailing the decision in January and especially its impact on fishermen in the area)

In addition to the collapse of cod stocks, salmon and tuna stocks are also dangerously low. There's a trend: the fish that people want to eat are the stocks that are continuously struggling. Over-fishing to meet demand leads to a depletion of stocks.

The obvious solution would be to just have people eat another type of fish until these stocks rebound. 79% of America's federally monitored commercial fish stocks are considered healthy and 86% of these stocks are not subject to over-fishing. In recent years, federal programs to rebuild stocks of scallops, bluefish, flounder, and lingcod have bounced back, and levels of ground fish remain plentiful in many fisheries. But it seems Americans want very specific types of fish, whether for cultural or health reasons. Even though there is significantly less cod and tuna to go around the US, it seems like restaurants are continuing to advertise. If diners don't know that these fish stocks are in trouble, they may not question if the 'cod' or 'tuna' on the menu is the real deal- but it turns out it probably isn't. A new study released by Oceana in Feb. 2013 concluded that 33% of all fish in the US was mislabeled (from samples taken at grocery stores, restaurants, and sushi bars). 87% of snapper was mislabeled (that's huge), as well as 57% of tuna. Halibut, cod, and grouper were mislabeled between 19 and 38% of the time. By far the largest mislabeling group are sushi restaurants:  a whooping 74% of fish is mislabeled when you sit down for a meal of sushi.  Most substitutions were for lower quality fish that have either been limited or banned in certain countries. Tuna was often substituted with escolar- a fish that contains a fatty ester that can cause extreme cramping and diarrhea if too much is ingested at one time. Several countries, including Japan, have banned the fish.

Oceana's discoveries raised concerns because of the health hazards of consuming mislabeled fish, but it made me think about something else entirely: will people want to eat fish if it is not the variety to which they are accustomed? If a restaurant were to stop serving cod, because a. cod is really hard to get and they probably aren't really serving it anyway and b. not mislabeling the fish would make it cheaper for the consumer, would customers eat whatever other fish was offered? As stated above, not all fish stocks are depleted. In fact, some edible stocks, such as carp, are often taken to be garbage fish in America but are edible and actually destroying ecosystems because of their huge numbers. Why won't people eat carp? Missouri and Illinois have suggested catching carp, grinding it up, and making it into fish sticks to serve at homeless shelters. It's good- no one will probably know it is carp if you don't tell them. So if carp is okay to serve to people, and it tastes fine, why won't restaurants serve it?

While media outlets portray outrage at mislabeling of food (horse meat instead of beef, escolar instead of tuna) it might be better to set the outrage aside and think about how the earth, and probably the economy, would benefit from finding and utilizing alternative sources of animal proteins. If we've overfished cod, tuna, salmon, and other fish, maybe we should look into popularizing new species. The American government tried this with carp in the 1930s, and was not particularly successful- but the food industry has quite a bit more power today. As do media outlets. I'd love to see a special in Women's Health detailing the carp or bluegill as a "power food".

The department of commerce (in which the USBF was located) urged Americans to eat carp during the Depression. 

Fish fries highlight something very interesting about the intersection between culture and eating in America- At a fish fry, you are served whatever the most plentiful local fish was caught that week. Although you can go to a fancy restaurant and maybe get fish imported for your Friday dinner, the demand this time of year means people will eat their local fish. But will they do so the rest of the year, or do they expect imported non-native species in their fancier restaurants? Can we change the culture of consumer expectations regarding fish in America, and where do we start?