Catch of the Day

Eat More Fish this Lent — Part 2

Thursday, March 01, 2018

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Thursday Food continues the Eat More Fish this Lent feature. This week we stop at the fishing villages of Portmore (“Dyke Road”) and Forum. Though the fisherfolk seem to find sourcing enough fish for the season a challenge, their views remain the same: fish is fresh and the best.

Big Fisherman

That's the name of fisherman Barrington Montique's boat which is always visible at the top of Portmore (“Dyke Road”) Fishing Village. Fishing every day for about 10-12 hours, starting in the evening and ending at dawn, Montique supplies a variety of fish: “snapper, jack, grunt, gout and shad, and shellfish like crab, shrimp and conch, as well”. Salmon and sprat too, on occasion, are caught with all being sold at prices between $500 and 550 per pound. All are always fresh, he boasts.

“We always have the freshest fish because they are always caught the night before. There's nowhere to get it fresher than this — probably as fresh, but not more. We carry igloos with ice when we go fishing, and each fish goes straight on the ice when it's caught,” Montique shared.

For Montique, who's been fishing for more than two decades, the Lenten season is the most difficult period.

“I've been here from the inception of this beach which has been here for nine years, and I've been a fisherman, on and off, for about 20-22 years.”

“Lent is the time usually when we can't get enough fish to sell. This is the seafood season, and you'll find people who normally wouldn't be eating fish wanting it a lot,” he explained.

His message for Lent: “Try to unite and love each other more.”

Fish source: The South Coast

Native Son

Semi-retired fisherman Felton Dwyer, who turns 80 in July, is the owner of this boat also at Dyke Road. He assigns different men to take on the challenges of the sea and source catches that may go on for 14 hours daily.

And this, he says, happens because of the challenges they've been having.

“I used to fish in the harbour but since the dredging we can't fish there anymore, and anytime the weather gets bad, our income goes, because about 40% of the time the fish are not there: it's the strong winds and currents that cause this,” Dwyer explained.

Though worried about his livelihood and source of income, he pushes on, selling his fish for $150 to $500 per pound, depending on the size.

His catch includes “king and jack fish, snapper, mutton, yellowtail, red and barracuda and wenchman”.

“For my boat, we use a technique called 'hook and line'. It's very expensive, but if fish are out there, we'll catch them,” he informed.

“People consume more fish and everybody is just trying to source it,” he noted, but he makes sure that he's providing the best.

“Nobody wants the ice-fish [fish that stays too long on ice], so we always keep it fresh.”

His message for Lent: “Whatever you want to give up, do it of your own will. You shouldn't have to wait for the doctor or someone else to tell you to, and love more.”

Fish source: Kingston Harbour to Mackerel Bank

DJ Geo

Forum Fishing Village is our final stop where we meet fisherman Anthony Harris, whose boat definitely does not pump music but a variety of fish at prices ranging between $3,000 and $3,400, and which this time happened to include a baby shark in the mix.

Harris is also challenged by the scarcity of fish during this season, but holds another natural factor as culprit: fish breeding.

“The Lenten season is a mating period for fish. Many don't know that, and after Lent the fish quantity increases,” he explained.

“People believe we [fishermen who use nets] find the best fish. The farther you go out to sea, the more coarse and not-so-tasty the fish gets, but we stay inside the harbour, or not too far, which always has tender fish,” he added.

August will mark the fourth year that Harris has been at Forum, and for him the ride has been an adventurous one.

His message for Lent: “Be kind and loving to each other.”

Fish source: Kingston Harbour

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