When you come from a place like Newfoundland and Labrador, even if you’re not a fisherman, a certain knowledge about the fishery seems to seep into your unconscious. You grow up hearing about quotas for crab, opening dates for fishing seasons and you’d surely know that 2J3KL is not just a jumble of letters and numbers, but a specific fishing area off the province’s coast. And, like the John F. Kennedy assassination moment, most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know where they were when they heard the news about the collapse of the cod fishery and the moratorium called in July of 1992.
Today, vividly painted vessels still fill our harbours, sheds are crammed with colourful bits of fishing gear and lobster and crab pots are stacked high on weather worn wharves. The photo opportunities for tourists are endless. As I suggested, seeing and hearing about the fishery everyday makes even landlubbers in Newfoundland familiar with the industry. It's not surprising, then, that when we travel we would feel a certain kinship with other communities and people who make their living on the sea. I always experiment with new seafood on menus in foreign countries or investigate the offerings at the seafood section of the local grocery store. And, when there's a chance to see real live fishermen at work on beaches or in boats, well, it's hard for me to put down my camera.
On a recent trip to Ecuador, I visited a town called Santa Rosa near Salinas on the country's south west coast. My travel companion had been there before and he knew it would be an adventure I would enjoy. This was one of the most vibrant scenes I have come across on my travels to date.
The Santa Rosa fish market was alive with sound and colour. We wandered through the streets and onto the piers, seduced by the smell of roasting fish and the warm smiles from fishermen and merchants. Crab, shark, swordfish, tuna and colourful species I have yet to know, lined tables along the waterfront. But it was the dorado, with it's unusually large, squared head that seemed to be the most coveted catch. Ecuador's dorado fishery is one of the largest in the world with up to 25 million pounds landed in a year. Dorado is also known as the dolphinfish or mahimahi, but in Ecuador the name dorado is most common among sea farers and comes from the Latin word for gold. I had tried this fish many times at restaurants and it was a thrill to see it whole in the hulls of the brightly painted boats.
I could go on and on but you know what they say about the value of a picture? Please see my photos in the gallery from this amazing Ecuadorian experience.
Don't forget to follow me on twitter (@tnrover) for travel tips and until next time, keep on rovin'!