TE24 Sci &Tech Desk:
Vancouver, British Columbia is a seafood paradise. Located at the mouth of the once salmon-rich Fraser River, the city overlooks western Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Long before the skyline and deep-sea harbors, it was a rich fishing ground for the people of Maskean, Squamish and Trail Wartus. Today, tourists from all over the world are trying out local specialties such as fresh salmon and halibut from the water. But under these waves things change.
Climate change is a complex reality for sea creatures and their dependents living near Vancouver. In a new study, a team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) shows an unexpected way that climate effects are already manifesting in our daily lives. To find it, they looked at the restaurant menu, not the thermometer or ice core.
“The menu provides physical and digital records that can be compared over time,” explains William Cheung, UBC’s fishery biologist and one of the authors of the study. Cheung has spent his career studying climate change and its impacts on the ocean.
He has contributed to several groundbreaking reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to study and communicate these changes with UBC undergraduate John-Paul Ng. I wanted to find another way to do it.
“Many people go to restaurants and enjoy seafood, especially in Vancouver, so we wanted to see if climate change was affecting the seafood served by the restaurant,” Cheung said. say. The
team collected menus from hundreds of restaurants in the city, as well as restaurants farther away in Anchorage,
Alaska and Los Angeles, California. The latest menu was easy to find, but it turned out to be a bit difficult to delve into Vancouver’s seafood history. With the help of local museums, historical associations, and even the city hall, researchers were surprised to find that there was a record of restaurant menus dating back more than a century, and edited a rare dataset. .. Overall, they have been successful in procuring menus since the 1880s.
Scientists used their records to create an index called the Average Temperature of Seafood in Restaurants (MTRS). This reflects the water temperature at which the seeds of the menu want to live.
As expected, they found that the MTRS in Los Angeles was higher than the MTRS in Anchorage, with Vancouver in the middle. However, by analyzing how Vancouver’s MTRS changed over time, they discovered an important trend. Warm water seeds often appear in restaurant menus. In the 1880s, Vancouver’s MTRS was around 10.7
One of the key data points in the survey was the historic Vancouver Hotel and its Notch8 restaurant, a 10-minute walk from the city’s financial district waterfront. Researchers could find examples of hotel menus in the 1950s, 60s, 80s, 90s, and today.
David Baarschers is an executive chef at Hotel Vancouver. Born and raised in Vancouver, he bears much of his passion for cooking by growing up surrounded by a wide variety of seafood in British Columbia.
“When I was in high school, I had a friend whose father had a fishing boat,” says Berchers. “When they returned from the salmon season, they always had a lot of shrimp. We got on their boat and boiled them with pot water. For the first time sucked shrimp heads. It was amazing. You will learn that you can do so much with food.
The chef considers people’s eating habits, but the menu also includes those swimming nearby. It will be reflected. Baarschers says he and the restaurant staff need to balance availability with customer preferences when deciding which seafood to order. “We usually talk to our suppliers,” explains Berchers. “Well, what’s next this season? What can we offer in the amount that we can put in the menu?
As warming progresses, the species that are available in sufficient quantity to put in the menu change. As Cheung and Ng’s research predicts, local coldwater species such as sockeye salmon will continue to decline on Vancouver’s menus. (In 2019, British Columbia recorded the lowest salmon catch in over 70 years.) Southern
species replace it. One of the most notable of these new arrivals is not the fish, but the Humboldt squid, which has begun to appear in fishing nets and restaurants in the city. From the
chef’s point of view, Bershah sees a mixture of changes. Dealing with new types of seafood is exciting, but they come at the expense of their beloved favorites.
“You’re a little sad because you have such fun memories when you get to know and love certain things and they fall and you can’t see the same fish,” he says. This change could also impact Vancouver’s large tourism industry, as customers expect certain species to be on their table. “Everyone is waiting for the next halibut season,” says Berchers. “And if there is no halibut on the menu, people ask
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