Sunday, March 10, 2013
Before Friday, I had never eaten a sardine.
Now I love them.
I was a bit apprehensive. For some reason I was thinking I would open the tin and see cold, dead, fish eyes staring at me. But actually there were no heads or tails with which to contend. Thank God. I made Lemon-Herb Sardine Salad and it was absolutely phenomenal. The recipe made two servings and I finished both of them. From now on I think I'm going to make this salad instead of tuna salad.
I also did not know all the nutrition sardines bring to the table. As with most fish, they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also have a decent amount of calcium (I read mostly from the bones), iron, vitamin D, and selenium. Apparently because they are low on the food chain they are also low in mercury.
There seems to be some controversy about the sustainability of the Gulf of California fishery. The sardines I bought by Wild Planet said they were considered to be sustainable (I don't know what area they came from), but this interesting article says the sardine fishery in Mexico has collapsed several times, stating that is was declared sustainable in 2010 despite a lack of a management plan. Natural Numbers discusses the issue of sardines in a youtube video.
FishWatch indicates the American sardine fishery is directed by the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan. While there is not an international management agreement, there is an annual Trinational Sardine Forum to share ideas and information about this "transboundary resource".
Sardines are serious business. In 2010, about 146,000 metric tons of Pacific sardines were harvested between the US, Mexican, and Canadian fisheries. That's a lot of tiny fish.