Jim Chambers wants to spread the word! He will tell you he is on a mission and like missionaries he has pamphlets to pass out: Blue Ocean Institute Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood.
He moseys up and plops down on a kitchen stool. “Did you know it takes 4 pounds of wild Salmon to raise one pound of farm Salmon?” Jim immediately takes on the Salmon farm fishing industry. He lays out the immorality of farm fisheries and when we get to level six, causing cancer, after moving from the immediate pollution problems of the farm (same as pigs) to the destruction of the entire species of salmon by farm escapees watering down genes in the wild, we make the mistake of asking, “What kind of Cancer?” “THE KIND THAT KILLS YOU! What do you mean what kind of cancer?” The last thing he wants is to get mired in an anthropocentric conversation about cancer–there is an ocean to be saved!
We jump to a conversation on how Grouper change from female to male and how these fish use the tide and moving water to keep the coral reef from devouring their eggs. There is an aggressive Male that watches over the flock–the fishermen know this, pluck him and you have the whole flock…Jim has a MA in fishing science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and worked for thirty five years in the federal government at the National Marine Fisheries Service. His job was to protect marine wildlife, as he says, from the Army Corp of Engineers. "They would propose an oil rig in the Chesapeake Bay and then we would have to convince everyone just how stupid this was." It seems for Jim things are very simple and humans complicate things with their great ideas and self importance, you can feel him convey a message of keep it simple, things are bad but they are going to be OK. In the mean time enjoy some WILD fish.
Jim retired from the federal government in 1999 and opened Prime Seafood five and a half years ago. He started working with Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel’s and then had the chef introduce him to some of his cheffing buddies… Jim wants you to know that being a Locavore when it comes to seafood may not be such a good idea, For 350 years we have been depleting the Eastern Atlantic water of fish and besides the regulating of Wild Rockfish we have not been careful about it. “Look not to eat Alaskan WILD Salmon when they are in season would just be a mistake.” It’s a no brainer!
Jim tells of a Cobia farm off the shores of Panama and plans of his to start an importing business that flies fish from the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua–a deal that was done until the economy crashed… How does Jim stay in business in the summer: “follow the golfers, it took me five years to learn this” as if to say I study people now and their migrations and we need to change some of their habits. Just like that Grouper on the coral Jim is looking after his flock.
He brought us fresh Georgia shrimp with the heads on–this past Home Restaurant we grilled them up with just lemon juice and fresh herbs from the garden.