Save our Sardines! That's the catch cry of the commercial fishing industry and we think the catch cry of the general public. As a lover of Sardines, I eat them often for breakfast, order them at restaurants, and have enjoyed them as part of one of Sandra Del Greco's legendary dishes at her cooking school in Richmond.
But we have a situation where commercial fishermen are unable to supply Victorian consumers with fresh sardines fom the bay due to regulations.
You would think we shouldn't have to import sardines when we have the ability to source them locally and in a sustainable way! Hence an epic event was held in one of Melbourne's best kept secret locations; at Vancouver Fisheries at Williamstown. In an idyllic location at a boatshed with wharf Hilary Mcnevin, Rosa Mitchell and Slo Food Melbourne hosted an event to save our sardines!
Fishermen coming together with media, chefs, restaurateurs, and politicians was a rare opportunity and made for a compelling night.
This was an event to taste, try & celebrate local sardines caught on Melbourne’s doorstep. Once you get a taste for dresh sardines caught locally a few hours earlier, you are hooked (so to speak). We began with fishermen cooking sardines over hot coals and adding oil and lemon; simple but irresistable! It felt earthy even primal to be served the bounty of the sea cooked fresh from coals in an old boatshed.
As part of the campaign to support local small-scale Victorian fisheries the event highlighted pthe amazing character, skill and passion of our fisher folk and their fabulous bounty …… starting with this humble little fish.
Sardines are a staple of many European cuisines but one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves here in Melbourne, despite our ethnic diversity. And the biggest tragedy is most get fed to other fish or used as bait! Let’s get eating them ourselves while we still can!!
Rosa Mitchell was given the boatshed kitchen to cook up an array of sardine dishes with the magic she can produce. Along with premium wines and beer, this was an event to remember!
It’s hard to think of a more sustainable or local source of nutritious seafood. Sardines caught in Victorian waters have the highest environmental sustainability credentials. Only a tiny fraction of the total sardine stock in Victoria are caught. The two multi-generational fishing families that catch sardines in Victoria use highly responsible, targeted and manual fishing methods to deliver a beautiful fresh product to the Victorian public.
We heard from Hilary McNevin and Rosa Mitchell, as well as sardine fisher Phil McAdam at his boatshed in Williamstown. It's a matter of the public being informed about the issue. This was one of the most enjoyable events I've been to for some time. Save our sardines!