The Pacific Sardine. One of the most important fish in the ocean. Sardines travel in large schools with their mouths open, filtering plankton from seawater, building muscles loaded with protein and omega-3 fats. They form epic 'bait balls' often showcased in documentaries, such as Planet Earth. Sardines are supercharged with nutrition. They are often called a forage fish because whales, seabirds, sharks, tuna, salmon, dolphins and sea lions heavily rely on them for food. Sardines and other small schooling fish like anchovies, menhaden, shad, herring, are the central cog of oceanic ecosystems. ⠀

Humans have decimated wild populations. Rather than eat these delicious fish, we grind them up for fishmeal to make animal feed, fertilizer and other agriculture products. About 20 lbs. of sardines are used to raise 1 lb. of tuna - a bogus and inefficient way to use the beauty of the Earth. ⠀

John Steinbeck saw the legendary 1947 sardine collapse in Monterery while he writing about paisano life in Tortilla Flat, and later Cannery Row. We are slow to learn. Though the population has been rebuilding, the plight of the sardine continues. Populations have plunged by 90 percent since 2007. Just last Sunday the Pacific Fishery Management Council extended the commercial ban on all forage fish along the coasts of Cali, Oregon and Washington. Thanks Oceana for all your work!⠀

Two months ago I was able to use a few of these special creatures with Josh and Bardford to make escabeche. We got them from TwoXSea, the best source of sustainable sea food. My joy was uncontainable. The tender & oily tissue, the subtle differences in every trait, from eye, cheek and muscle color, the bizarrely high ratio of muscle to viscera, the translucent scales and cerulean across their backs. ⠀

Mad Ag has been working to reduce pressure on sardine fisheries by inventing animal feed that doesn't use fishmeal. We use insects to replace fishmeal and other unsustainable ingredients. We work for vibrant oceans. ⠀

@oceana @patagonia@patagoniaprovisions @2byc @wwf@nrdc_org @ordinairewine@percyselections @brumairesf ⠀

Philip TaylorComment