Shop the Dock!

Come to Port Dock 5.

Ruby Moon, a Fishery Agent for OSU Extension Lincoln County,  invited people to the docks in Newport, Oregon to learn how to purchase fresh seafood directly from fishing vessels.

My husband and I thought this sounded like a great opportunity, and decided to go.  We were asked to bring: a cooler filled with ice, cash for purchasing seafood, and questions!

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As Ruby greeted us, her enthusiasm, expertise, and knowledge were quick to spot. I knew this was going to be an interesting shopping adventure led by someone with a passion for being on the docks and talking about the fishing industry. As it turned out, Ruby grew up in a family whose ties with commercial fishing go back for generations. She’s a self-proclaimed connoisseur of all foods produced by the sea… her zeal was contagious. I’m not big on eating shellfish, but, if I were dining out with Ruby… I would be convinced to try!

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I love handouts!

This is the collection of information Ruby gave to all participants at the “Shop the Dock” tour: recipes, Oregon Albacore Tuna facts booklet, buying guidelines, and lots more!

A handy recipe pamphlet was particularly helpful when it came time to prepare a purchase we made.. our first fresh,  Oregon Albacore Tuna.

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Before heading down the gangway, Ruby gave an important last minute reminder…

“Remember you are on docks! Watch where you step so no one goes for an unexpected swim. That water is cold!” 

Going down the gangway afforded views to both sides of Port Dock 5. Many vessels were docked- some were being resupplied to return to sea while others underwent necessary tune-ups and repairs.

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On the docks…

People weren’t the only ones looking for a good deal on fish. This gull had an eye on a very appealing bucket (at least from his perspective!)

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For “Shop the Dock” folks, Ruby led the way the F.V. Ocean Lady.  She explained that “F.V.” stands for Fishing Vessel. This was the first of three possible places to purchase fresh seafood on the Newport Docks.

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We were introduced to a skipper who sells  fish he caught directly from his boat. Captain Doug described what was for sale, when it was caught, and how fish were stored after the catch.  Before processing orders, the skipper answered a variety of questions from the group. Then, the orders started to pour in.

My husband and I watched as he filleted a Coho Salmon.  We weren’t yet decided in what size fish we wanted, so we left to wander the docks and ponder our order.

Apparently, we weren’t alone in contemplation of fish. This Harbor Seal most likely had the same thing on his mind as he swam between the docks.

For the Cormorant, however, the fishing  choice was already done.The Blenny, caught in a blink, was already on its way to satisfying this shorebird’s fish-hungry appetite.

What is it about docks and being around moored boats? We have had a long-time love affair with a feeling that comes over us any time we stroll along docks or piers. My husband and I enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells associated with this setting… it’s a wonder that the largest vessels we own are two hand-crafted wooden sea kayaks. Aren’t the names of boats interesting? We often wonder about how some names were chosen, and chuckle at the humor in others. Since our OSU Oregon Master Naturalist classwork, we also test ourselves to see if we can identify the type of vessel… long-liner, troller, trawler, crabber?

That brings me back to our “Shop the Dock” fish purchase. Captain Doug was incredibly busy. That day, he was the only skipper at Port Dock 5 directly selling from his boat.

Ruby mentioned another way fishermen sell fish at the docks is to contract with “barges.” Fish caught on a Fishing Vessel are transferred to the barge to be sold. Port Dock 7 is the location for this kind of purchase. Ed and I decided to check that out; by now, we had decided to purchase an Oregon Albacore Tuna and a Black Cod. So, we headed over to Port Dock 7.

The bad news was- what we wanted was sold out. The good news was- Ruby had located to Port Dock 7. When she learned our dilemma… it only took the blink-of-an-eye for her to suggest that we all walk down to Port Dock 3. Ruby lead the way to the “Chelsea Rose.”

As is turned out, the “Chelsea Rose” is the third way to purchase fish at the Newport Docks, and is best described by the company history cut directly from their website- ( http://www.chelsearoseseafood.com/Pages/aboutus.aspx )

“The Chelsea Rose is a Historic Fishing Vessel (H/F/V). It was built in 1907 and purchased by our Captain, Cody Chase, in 1997. The Chelsea Rose is semi-retired now. She no longer goes out to sea. She stays at dock year round allowing us to supply the public with fresh quality seafood. Our captain catches the majority of our crab from the newest boat in our fleet, the F/V Aquarius. The majority of our tuna is purchased from the F/V Norma M, which is owned by Cody’s father. Our halibut, salmon and rock fish are bought from a few select, local fishermen.”

The story of our fish purchase is told in pictures:

At the conclusion of our “Shop the Dock” adventure we appreciated the time Ruby spent with us at the docks. Without her knowledge and enthusiasm we may have left Newport without any fish.

On the way home, we imagined a new habit we’d like to start…  purchasing our fish at the docks.

It would be a good thing to support local fishermen who go out to sea and  sustainably fish off the Oregon Coast.


Resources:

Oregon Albacore Commission
See interview with Ruby on the Oregon State University –

” The Coast:” http://sites.oregonstate.edu/beaver-nation/everywhere/coast/#moon

9 comments

  1. Loved the story. It was so good to meet you and your husband. I had a great time with you guys! I’m thinking about doing a couple more shop at the docks, before the tuna canning workshop. No better way to spend an afternoon…good people, great views and amazing seafood…can’t beat it.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the story, Ruby 🙂
      With the weather still so nice, adding a couple more Shop the Docks sounds like a great idea, and a good way to promote the canning workshop. Best wishes for the workshop… we’d love to attend, but will be in Gig Harbor busy fulfilling the role of brand-new grandparents!!
      Hope the Shop the Dock becomes an annual event.
      Jane

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  2. You know we too love looking at boat names and wonder how they came about….. This was a great read with terrific photos 🙂 And what an experience to be able to buy straight off the boat! That is ONE big tuna you bought 🙂

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    1. I have a feeling your boat name photo collection is pretty awesome… multilingual! How fun we share that fascination 🙂

      Actually, we chose a smaller tuna (about 12 pounds). They run between 10 and 20 pounds. It is a pretty fish, and very good flavor.

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