In a past life, I used to live on the small island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas. Two or three times a week, a local Bahamian fisherman named Larry and I would pull around eighty 3-foot-long cobia from a net pen installed about a mile offshore there.Back at the dock, we would fillet them on a fish cleaning table and occasionally toss a scrap piece into the water to watch the fish eat it.
Many of the men there are fishermen and it’s an important source of food and income for the community. Larry would tell me about how the catches are doing and where his favorite spots are. He targets conch and lobster, but also takes grouper and snapper. “Catches are good” he says, “but you never know when you’re going to have a bad day”. He likes working with us mainly for a change in his routine and some socializing but also the reliability of harvesting fish out of a pen. Larry and I will take the whole afternoon filleting the fish, packing them into zip lock bags, and dropping them off in the kitchen at the school and research institute that I work at. Larry gets a bag of fish and $50 for his help and the rest of the fish will be eaten by the students and staff there.
It’s a good feeling to provide food for your community.