By JEFF ST. PETER
A study on bottom fish off the Oregon Coast by the states Department of Fish and Wildlife is creating an unexpected benefit to the community of Brookings.
According to Don Crisp of Dick and Caseys Gourmet Seafood at the Port of Brookings Harbor, the fish being caught by fish and wildlife personnel in conjunction with the study are being donated to charitable organizations for distribution.
They are bringing the fish into us, he said on Friday morning. Julie (Tomlinson) is cleaning up the fish and we are distributing them to local groups to give to those in need.
He said that although fish and wildlife is paying part of the cost of processing the catch, it wasnt his choice to do so.
Actually, we wanted to do it for nothing, he said, but fish and wildlife wouldnt allow it.
So we are processing the fish for just labor costs, about 25 cents on the dollar. We are handling the distribution at no cost.
Crisp said the fresh fish have been given to the Community Helpers Emergency Food Bank, Oasis Shelter Home and Outreach Gospel Mission. The fish being distributed include black snapper, canary rock fish and blue snapper.
Don Bodenmiller, fish and wildlife biologist, said fish must be killed to learn about their age structure. Determining their age is like counting the rings on a tree.
Studies are showing that the average age of black rockfish is about 6 or 7 years old, Bodenmiller said.
Black Rock can live to 30 years, but we dont see many over 15, Bodenmiller said.
According to Crisp, fish and wildlife has been conducting the study for some time, but just recently showed up in Brookings.
They have been doing it up and down the Oregon Coast for a couple of years, he said. They are just getting down to this area.
In the Brookings area, the fish and wildlife department has been chartering the Super Star, Bodenmiller said. Biologists begin in the early morning catching the fish then spend the afternoon studying them.
Crisp said the department is mapping the fish to see if they are breeding outside their own areas not just localized, trying to learn if they are expanding their breeding area. He believes fish and wildlife is doing a double public service.
I thought it was neat that they are getting the information (about the fish habits) and the
fish are not just being wasted, he said. They are going to needy organizations.
Marshall Caston, who works with Outreach Gospel Mission, said the donation of fresh fish is a blessing.
It is unusual to get fresh stuff, he said. They are very special.
We are trying to cook three meals a day, feeding 35-40 people daily, and anything we get helps. He added that the mission also prepares food boxes, which are distributed to those in need.
Chuck Moore, with Community Helpers, said receiving fresh fish is welcome.
We are rebagging the fish into individual servings, freezing them, and distributing them," he said.
We certainly appreciate any food donations we get. Any donation of food, money or time we can get helps us to meet the needs of the community.