An article published in Seattle’s “Lifestyle Magazine,” SeattleMet, resulted in one of the city’s announced restaurants removing Wild Steelhead from its menu. In fact, Hitchcock chief executive Brian McGill has decided to stop serving the fish, much in recognition of many of the savage steelhead proponents who came out in defense of Washington’s troubled steelhead population.
SeattleMet writer Allicia Vermillion provocatively slammed anglers and conservationists, writing, “… Putting steelhead on the menu can spark letters or even protests from people who fish as a hobby. For sport anglers, the pursuit of The Steelhead is the fly-fishing equivalent of putting up a perfect baseball game while having a religious experience. In other words, subjecting this rare and beautiful creature to everyday harvesting and cooking is like carving a 20 point buck to make venison burgers . “”
The article paints a misleading picture of strict farming, healthy populations and sustainable harvests. It illustrates this process by tracing a fish from its later place on a plate in Haincock, Bainbridge Island, through the selective, inaccessible, and colorful surfer who became fish buyer Peter Onkst, and back to the steel fisherman Michael Sampson, who pulls the fish Interest from the icy waters of the Hoh River when one of 6 steelheads was pulled that day.
After the news spread, it wasn’t long before ferocious Steelhead proponents began voicing their opinions on both the SeattleMet website and other websites on the internet. The message? Washington Wild Steelhead’s harvest is unacceptable and unsustainable. Noted Seattle fisherman and leader Dave McCoy, “The number of wild / indigenous steelheads returning to this state is between 2% and 5% (generous here in the upper end of the range) of historical returns A fashion that 4,000 Making fish seem like a crowd that this number is sustainable and that it is okay to find these fish on your favorite restaurant’s menu is socially irresponsible. Obviously, some of the people you have spoken to are not in the right position to believe that these fish are in as bad a situation as they really are. “
And their voices did not go unheard. SeattleMet changed the article to include the following notice:
As you can see in the comments below, this story got a lot of attention from the fly fishermen and the many passionate people who love steelhead and are deeply interested in its conservation. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion in a respectful and purposeful way. This story was about tracking a fish from water to plate while discussing some of the confusions that arise from sourcing seafood in general. As for the specifics of Steelhead, our reports and fact-checking have resulted in a number of conflicting opinions and details. We thank the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff for spending so much time checking the facts with us. Obviously, harvesting steelhead is a controversial topic that inspires passion and diverse beliefs. ¶ Some chefs do not serve steelhead, including Kevin Davis of Blueacre Seafood, who asked for clarification that he is passionate about the subject and has never or ever will serve wild steelhead in his restaurants. ¶ After Hitchcock’s Brendan McGill saw the answer to this story, he opened the restaurant’s Facebook page for a lively discussion and finally decided not to serve the fish either. While this wasn’t exactly the way we wanted to add to the conversation, any discussion about our seafood, our resources, and how we use it is a focused one. Thank you for reading.
Read the original article for the full text, as well as a view of the comments left in response.