3 years ago
3 years ago
A FISHING APE
3 years ago

I used to be obsessed with fishing as a boy, so Bill Dance has a special place in my heart.

4 years ago
The more I thought of it, the more I realized that the four fish that are coming to dominate the modern seafood market are visible footprints, marking four discrete steps humanity has taken in its attempts to master the sea. Each fish is an archive of a particular, epochal shift. Salmon, a beautiful silvery animal with succulent pink flesh, is dependent upon clean, free-flowing freshwater rivers. It is representative of the first wave of human exploitation, the species that marks the point at which humans and fish first had large-scale environmental problems and where domestication had to be launched to head off extinction. Sea bass, a name applied to many fish but which increasingly refers to a single white, meaty-fleshed animal called the European sea bass, represents the near-shore shallow waters of our coasts, the place where Europeans first learned how to fish in the sea and where we also found ourselves outstripping the resources of nature and turning to an even more sophisticated form of domestication to maintain fish supplies. Cod, a white, flaky-fleshed animal that once congregated in astronomical numbers on the the continental shelves many miles offshore, heralded the era of industrial fishing, an era where mammoth factory ships were created to match cod’s seemingly irrepressible abundance and turn its easily processed flesh into a cheap commoner’s staple. And finally tuna, a family of massive, sometimes thousand-pound animals with red, steaklike flesh that frequent the distant deepwater zones beyond the continental slope. Some tuna cross the breadth of the oceans, and nearly all tuna species range across waters that belong to multiple nations or no nation at all. Tuna are thus stateless fish, difficult to regulate and subject to the last great gold rush of wild food—a sushi binge that is now pushing us into a realm of science-fiction-level fish-farming research and challenging us to reevaluate whether fish are at their root expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion. Four fish, then. Or rather four archetypes of fish flesh, which humanity is trying to master in one way or another, either through the management of a wild system, through the domestication and farming of individual species, or through the outright substitution of one species for another. (Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food)

The more I thought of it, the more I realized that the four fish that are coming to dominate the modern seafood market are visible footprints, marking four discrete steps humanity has taken in its attempts to master the sea. Each fish is an archive of a particular, epochal shift. Salmon, a beautiful silvery animal with succulent pink flesh, is dependent upon clean, free-flowing freshwater rivers. It is representative of the first wave of human exploitation, the species that marks the point at which humans and fish first had large-scale environmental problems and where domestication had to be launched to head off extinction. Sea bass, a name applied to many fish but which increasingly refers to a single white, meaty-fleshed animal called the European sea bass, represents the near-shore shallow waters of our coasts, the place where Europeans first learned how to fish in the sea and where we also found ourselves outstripping the resources of nature and turning to an even more sophisticated form of domestication to maintain fish supplies. Cod, a white, flaky-fleshed animal that once congregated in astronomical numbers on the the continental shelves many miles offshore, heralded the era of industrial fishing, an era where mammoth factory ships were created to match cod’s seemingly irrepressible abundance and turn its easily processed flesh into a cheap commoner’s staple. And finally tuna, a family of massive, sometimes thousand-pound animals with red, steaklike flesh that frequent the distant deepwater zones beyond the continental slope. Some tuna cross the breadth of the oceans, and nearly all tuna species range across waters that belong to multiple nations or no nation at all. Tuna are thus stateless fish, difficult to regulate and subject to the last great gold rush of wild food—a sushi binge that is now pushing us into a realm of science-fiction-level fish-farming research and challenging us to reevaluate whether fish are at their root expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion. Four fish, then. Or rather four archetypes of fish flesh, which humanity is trying to master in one way or another, either through the management of a wild system, through the domestication and farming of individual species, or through the outright substitution of one species for another. (Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food)

4 years ago
4 years ago
For a Good Catch: Shirts For Fishing
 
The first of a three-part series looking at superstitions surrounding fishing in Yaizu, one of Japan’s most notorious fishing ports.
Everything is packed away inside Enshuya, which is understandable- it’s winter. Through the sliding doors, vintage sewing machines rest on wooden tables, half hidden by the glass cabinets packed with cotton shirts. Kiyo Naito appears from a back room and darts over to greet us, sitting herself behind one of the metal sewing machines. She is now 86 years old, only four years younger than her shop, Enshuya. Naito is responsible for creating Yaizu’s most distinctive icon by hand, intricately patterned fishing shirts known as “u-o-gashi.” 
“I started making these shirts, when I came to this house as a wife,” says Naito under fluorescent lights. “I was eighteen then, it was during the war.” She recalls her husband being dropped off in China while his friends went onto fight further afield. Only her husband returned. Everyone has either lost someone at sea, or knows someone who has. Then there was the infamous Bikini Atoll incident. Its understandable that “all the designs are happy.” Naito points to a hanging cotton shirt, “Pine needles are a symbol of happiness but there are also lots of fish.” She gestures around the room, fish characters, shapes and symbols are embedded into every shirt.
Only true fishermen wore the shirts at first. It was a mark of pride, but perhaps it was also something to fortify their mortality. Now even the local bank wear matching “u-o-gashi” shirts every friday and Japanese tourists come from all over to buy one; the whole nation paying its respect, in cotton, to Yaizu’s former life as the fishing capital of Japan. Naito moves nimbly to stop us as we leave, she has more designs to show us. It seems impossible for her to be so old; other local residents are equally astounded of how genki, or energetic, she is. “In the summer we are always working,” she says, “because everything is made by hand. As we exited we thought it’s hard to imagine something so full of life ever losing its power.
Enshyu-ya is located at 5-10-5 Yaizu Yaizu City, Shizuoka

For a Good Catch: Shirts For Fishing

The first of a three-part series looking at superstitions surrounding fishing in Yaizu, one of Japan’s most notorious fishing ports.

Everything is packed away inside Enshuya, which is understandable- it’s winter. Through the sliding doors, vintage sewing machines rest on wooden tables, half hidden by the glass cabinets packed with cotton shirts. Kiyo Naito appears from a back room and darts over to greet us, sitting herself behind one of the metal sewing machines. She is now 86 years old, only four years younger than her shop, Enshuya. Naito is responsible for creating Yaizu’s most distinctive icon by hand, intricately patterned fishing shirts known as “u-o-gashi.” 

“I started making these shirts, when I came to this house as a wife,” says Naito under fluorescent lights. “I was eighteen then, it was during the war.” She recalls her husband being dropped off in China while his friends went onto fight further afield. Only her husband returned. Everyone has either lost someone at sea, or knows someone who has. Then there was the infamous Bikini Atoll incident. Its understandable that “all the designs are happy.” Naito points to a hanging cotton shirt, “Pine needles are a symbol of happiness but there are also lots of fish.” She gestures around the room, fish characters, shapes and symbols are embedded into every shirt.

Only true fishermen wore the shirts at first. It was a mark of pride, but perhaps it was also something to fortify their mortality. Now even the local bank wear matching “u-o-gashi” shirts every friday and Japanese tourists come from all over to buy one; the whole nation paying its respect, in cotton, to Yaizu’s former life as the fishing capital of Japan. Naito moves nimbly to stop us as we leave, she has more designs to show us. It seems impossible for her to be so old; other local residents are equally astounded of how genki, or energetic, she is. “In the summer we are always working,” she says, “because everything is made by hand. As we exited we thought it’s hard to imagine something so full of life ever losing its power.

Enshyu-ya is located at 5-10-5 Yaizu Yaizu City, Shizuoka

5 years ago
Do you know what a sea robin is? Google Image that shit. It’s basically like the last living dinosaur. It has a face like a catfish with whiskers, rigid scaly wings to move it along the ocean floor, a hard back, and a tail like a lobster, and when it’s out of the water it barks. It’s true. You’ll be out fishing for hours, hoping to get some tuna or something worthwhile, but instead every tug at the line is another sea robin.Of course the time I go out to catch some shit-fish all I got were sea robins, which I threw back. When I saw my mom later that day she was like, “So what did you catch? What’s for dinner?” “Nothing. Just sea robins. We threw them back.” You could see tears well up in her eyes. She called me an idiot. She had to take a seat as if I’d knocked the wind out of her. “Don’t you know sea robins’ tails taste just like lobster tails?”

Do you know what a sea robin is? Google Image that shit. It’s basically like the last living dinosaur. It has a face like a catfish with whiskers, rigid scaly wings to move it along the ocean floor, a hard back, and a tail like a lobster, and when it’s out of the water it barks. It’s true. You’ll be out fishing for hours, hoping to get some tuna or something worthwhile, but instead every tug at the line is another sea robin.

Of course the time I go out to catch some shit-fish all I got were sea robins, which I threw back. When I saw my mom later that day she was like, “So what did you catch? What’s for dinner?” “Nothing. Just sea robins. We threw them back.” You could see tears well up in her eyes. She called me an idiot. She had to take a seat as if I’d knocked the wind out of her. “Don’t you know sea robins’ tails taste just like lobster tails?”