I’m a sucker for really bad horror movies.

Especially ones that involve teenagers with questionable judgment that get themselves slaughtered in varying states of undress. Movies that are so bad, they’re good.

Piranha (2010) was one such movie. There’s this one memorable scene where a topless girl on spring break gets ripped in half right between her cleavage. Sweet. And I’ll admit, I was already slightly scared of fish when I watched this. Last summer I bought a pair of goggles that I took on several beach trips. I’d swim way out on the lake, as far as I dared to go, and put on my goggles. I’d float around and check things out. I saw mostly fish. Gross and slimy with beady little eyes, watching me. Some were pretty big. They creeped me out. I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving but I’m not so sure I can now.

Then a few weeks later when I learned about fish farming, I almost felt bad for them. Then I learned about Asian carp and I got scared again. Cheesy horror aside, there’s something truly disturbing about the way we are currently farming our fish.

Fish is generally farmed by roping off an area of a lake. Like a huge, netted swimming pool. Besides the fact that they squeeze thousands of fish into a very small space with barely any room to move, and besides the fact that they’re fed antibiotics as well as additives like gluten and soy to fatten them up (not things they’d naturally find in their environments), they also bring in fish from foreign waters. So they’ll bring a fish into a lake that is from another ecosystem. Why is that a problem?

Because sometimes fish escape. And when they do, they completely change the natural ecosystem of the entire lake. Local fish are killed off. And creepy unnatural things happen. Like the Asian carp.

The Asian carp story is something you have to see to believe (youtube links to follow). But here’s the story behind it:

Asian carp were brought into the Mississippi river to be sold aesthetically in Japanese gardens, or as tank cleaners. They were pretty little fish, almost gold fish-like. When the Mississippi river flooded, those fish escaped. Because it was not their natural ecosystem, they had no predators. So they grew. And grew. And grew. Until they got freakishly large and started injuring people by jumping out of the water and attacking them. It was like mini-Jaws. They started eating everything in the lake, killing off local fish and hogging all the food supply. Then they started to travel upstream. It got so bad that they’ve built underwater electric fences to keep them out of our Canadian Great Lakes. And the problem persists.

Here are the videos:

Asian Carp Invasion Part I

Asian Carp Invasion Part II

THE SALMON RIVER COMPANY

I try not to eat farmed fish anymore. But wild fish is very hard to get. You’re not likely to find it at the grocery store, and it takes some time to find a good fish monger.

Personally, I found the Salmon River Company who delivered wild, BC salmon to my door. It was like a godsend. Here is what I received:

  1. Stikine River Sockeye salmon. Skin-on, boneless fillet. This was a beautiful dark red colour, from the Stikine River in northern BC, just below Alaska. This river produces some of the finest salmon in the world.
  2. Stikine River Ivory Chinook salmon. Skin-on, boneless fillet. The Chinook is also known as Spring Salmon, King Salmon (in the USA) and the Tyee (30lbs+). Most salmon is pink-red in colour because of a diet of krill, a reddish shrimp. But about 1 or 2 in 100 of the Chinook prefer to dine on herring. Their flesh remains an ivory or blush colour and the fat (good fat) content is increased and the fish get larger (and delicious).

I was even told that my salmon was caught by Great Glacier Salmon operated by Bob and Celine Gould.

I plan to prepare my fish the way that Richard of the Salmon River Company suggested. Something very simple so as not to conceal the delicious flavour of the fish:

1. Pre-heat an oven to 425 F.

2. In a hot cast iron (or ovenproof) skillet, sear the salmon skin side up in a bit of olive oil and butter for about 2-3 minutes so a “crust” will form on the flesh side. Flip the salmon over in the pan and season with good quality coarse salt (perhaps fleur de sel) and pepper. Put the pan into the pre-heated oven for about 4-6 minutes until the flesh starts to flake. No more! It is much better to eat this wonderful salmon rare than overcooked. It is also sushi grade and may be used as such.

Nutritionally, the Omega 3 content in wild fish is much higher than what is found in farmed fish. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about good quality fish. Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild fish, especially salmon, reduce cholesterol, protect your heart, fight cancer and improve brain function.

Sometimes you just really need a happy ending.