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Hooked on Hook-caught Cod. (Massachusetts).

The sacred cod of Massachusetts is in trouble, and The Good Ship CLF has steamed to the rescue. CLF supports the long-term interests of all the state's fishermen, but we're partial to the environmentally sensitive method of hook fishing. It produces less bycatch than other methods, and less damage to the ocean floor--not to mention fresher fish. This Fall, in cooperation with The Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association and Chef's Collaborative, CLF sponsored a month-long promotion for Chatham Hooked Cod. We called it Get Hooked on Cod, and arranged for that toothsome delicacy to be featured in 20 fine Boston restaurants.

The kickoff event was a cod tasting and educational seminar that introduced journalists, chefs, fish purveyors, and restaurateurs to the guest of honor. CLF Marine Project Director Priscilla Brooks told the gathering, "As cod come back, we expect more hook fishermen to follow. Ask for hooked cod; you'll be making a choice for a better environment."

The keynote speaker was Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. He said that the first Europeans in North America were amazed at the numbers of cod here; depleting them would have been "impossible," they thought, but of course the fishing then was done with hooks. Kurlansky said that hook fishing is "the most ecologically sound way to catch cod, and it also produces the [freshest] fish."

The cod tasting consisted of platters all around, each with five pieces of cod representing a variety of sources, fishing methods, and degrees of freshness. The freshest piece, hooked the day before, turned out to be soft and delicate, not as firm and flaky as one from an older, trawler-caught cod. But two of the chefs liked that--Chris Douglass of Boston's Icarus, and Peter Hoffman of New York's Savoy. "We rarely get fish that fresh," they said. "But we liked the fact that hooked cod ... retains its freshness longer."

They could have added that the ocean floor likes hooked cod, too.
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Publication:Conservation Matters
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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