Underutilized Fish Gaining Momentum in New Orleans

bycatch 2015Bycatch, often referred to as “trash fish, ” is becoming a hot culinary trend nationwide. When fishermen go out, they target certain species. Sometimes, other species are caught, and these are usually thrown back because they are not seen as valuable. In other words, the fishermen can’t get as much money for them. Chefs are starting to demand these bycatch species at their restaurants to offer something different for customers. Often, these underutilized species are just as delicious as their more known counterparts, but they don’t have the name recognition. One example is blue runner. This is an open water fish commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico that many people have never heard of, but blue runner have a similar taste as tuna.

Blue runner is one of the species that was highlighted at the Bycatch Happy Hour at Carmo on June 4. This event, which was a collaboration with Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) and the New Orleans Eat Local Challenge, encouraged guests to try something a little outside of their comfort zone.

“I think it’s part of the focus on getting what’s local and adding diversity to your diet, of tapping into more of what’s really out there, ” said John Fallon, Assistant Director of Outreach and Engagement for G.U.L.F. “The trouble with serving this kind of seafood is the consistency. You don’t always know what you’re going to get because, by its nature, it isn’t a targeted catch. But when there’s more of a market for different types of fish, more fishermen will take care of what they catch and people can get better access to it.”

For more information about Carmo’s Bycatch Happy Hour, and the Trash Fish movement in New Orleans, visit the New Orleans Advocate.

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