Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pollution, would you eat the tainted seafood?

I love seafood, any kind of seafood. Sometimes eating them raw. But not anymore.

About 25 years ago, I was visiting Whakatane, a coastal town of New Zealand. It was also important for reforestation of pine trees. My cousin was a forester. He took us to a channel and gave me the best experience of my life. In the low tide, we had to swim some forty feet out to the sea. Then we dived down about ten feet.

Buried in the mud were clusters of some twenty horse lip mussels. I couldn't help myself but giggle with happiness as I bring up these 6 to 8 inches long mussels. After putting them in sacks, we swam back to the beach. There we separated the small ones and ate some right there and then. The rest we took back and barbecued over charcoal fire.

That was one experience I would never forget. This memory however is tarnished when my husband, and environmental engineer said that the channel was most polluted with dioxin. The forestry industry had ruin it for the rest of the people.

All along the coast of New Zealand, where once upon a time, there were plentiful seafood, there are signs saying,"Don't eat the seafood, it is contaminated." Contaminated by whom? You know......

A new contaminant in this country well known for outdoor life is the Didymo.(Didymosphenia geminata). It is an Unwanted Organism (under the Biosecurity Act 1993). It is an offence to knowingly spread an unwanted organism with penalites of up to 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $100,000.

Somehow someone unwittingly brought it to this country. It was first detected in New Zealand in the Lower Waiau River in Southland in October 2004. It has since been detected in several South Island rivers. It is threatening the enjoyment of people fishing in our once clean water. The water engineer now says no matter how great a gourmet they are, wild horses couldn't drag him to eat them now.

Do we remove the veins of shrimps? My mother used to tell me to. . I am too lazy to do it. I argue with her that the restaurants don't.

Here is an anecdote for you to salivate. The year was 1975. I was studying in the university of Windsor. A group of us got wind that a seafood place some many miles away offered "All you can eat" shrimps and scallops. The restaurant owner must have regreted that special offer when he saw car loads of university students pull up in front of his restaurant. Students as everyone knows are very hungry people. We ate and ate and we ate until the waitress came and said," Last order, the kitchen is closing."

*** That mussel gather was one of the best experience I ever had, it wasn't so much about harvesting them to eat. It was the sensation of diving under the channel, dig in the mud with your toes, come up for air, dive down again, and come up with a bunch of twenty or so mussels.***

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