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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fishermen's dilemma

Katie O'Donnell tells me that fishermen have as many weather and climate related challenges as farmers, when it comes to their catch.
"Seasons around the world impact restaurants here," she told me when I interviewed her for a story about cold water fish. "For instance the halibut season in Alaska is a little different each year depending on the quota. Fishermen got an extra week this year year because they lost time in November when storms prevented them from going out."
Those who set the fishing seasons are trying to assure that certain species aren't over fished, she explained.
Katie is with Cleveland's Catanese Classic Seafood and helps to provision many area restaurants.
She said skate, which is more popular among Europeans than Americans, is not often found on menus here even though it is delicious.  Divers and other fish watchers know skate as a ray, as in sting ray, manta ray, other so-called winged fish. It's been overfished in Europe so restaurants there now import their skate from America where its is abundantly found in the Atlantic.
It's been a terrible season for stone crab, she said. I never knew stone crab, which is harvested in Florida waters, ever got to Ohio at all. It does, but apparently it hasn't been found here for more than a month.
"The water has been very warm in Florida this year and that caused a proliferation of octopus which ate the stone crab," she told me. "When fisherman go out to retrieve their crab traps and find empty shells and a lot of octopus they soon stop going out to check them."
 They know their investment in time and gasoline to reach the traps will be wasted. So scratch off stone crab this year.
The story about cold water fish appears in Thursday's News-Herald. Those who read it online will see it even sooner.


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