We can get fresh tuna right off the boat here where we live. We know the fisherman, Herb Goblirsch and his wife, Ginny, an extension agent in Newport, Oregon. They started out years ago to expand their home/boat-based business.
He caught the tuna – with lines! not nets! so don’t email us with notes telling us how controversial tuna is – and she canned it. It was the best albacore. The fish were iced as soon as they got into the boat and they were canned as soon as the boat – the EZC – got into port. As did other fishers in the Newport fleet. Many just sell the tuna fresh right off of their boats.
We’ve been buying our tuna, and now salmon, from them for years. They sell the cans out of their garage and their kids are part of the project. Here’s a nice story about them. And, for those who don’t know a lot about commercial fishermen, here’s a factoid we learned when we did a story on the family for one of the publications we used to write for. Herb designed the labels for the canned fish himself.
What we also learned writing about the men who go down to the sea in ships, or in this case, in fishing boats, is that many of them are deeply philosophical as well as wonderful poets.
You’ve heard of cowboy poets? Well, for the past few years, there’s been a Fisher Poets event in Astoria, Oregon. (It’s coming up in February this year!) We didn’t get his name, but this ling-cod fisherman gave us his copy of the poem after getting rousing applause at the event a year or so ago. Here it is:
If it’s true
(what they say)
and, you are what you eat.
My boy, with his
ling-cod fueled tenacity & stamina
is going to go through
like a hot knife, through partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil,
and leave him laying there
like some disease-laden feedlot cow
staring stupidly, wondering
what just happened.
Now, it’s not my place
to tell anyone, how to raise their kids
But, I hope someone
will build their boy out of ling-cod too.
Because my boy,
is going to need someone
to play with.