McDonald’s will be launching, late this year, their $1 Fish McBites. I’m guessing the fish is U.S. caught Alaskan pollock. This is the opposite of buy local, keep your dollars in town. This is the other business model: fish/ process industry partners with mega-food giant McDonald’s and comes up with product at a very affordable price. The pollock industry then makes money (has made) to pay for “green” certification that makes their fishery more desirable–on the world stage–because it is labeled “sustainable.” And also fish industry gets to work with environmental groups, thereby keeping them happy, informed and, possibly quiet. This is not a cut-down of the Alaskan pollock industry; they really have done a hell of a job with marketing and managing their resource. Though it came at a price when the pollock industry went through a rationalization process–which went on for years– where boatloads of fishermen lost their jobs, their boats, their quotas. Not everyone was happy.
But now, in 2011 the Alaskan fleet landed 2.8 billion pounds of pollock. TwoPointEight Billion! That’s a lot of fish. But there’s an irony in here somewhere. I can’t fully spell it out. Maybe it isn’t irony, maybe it’s normal. It has to do with money, size, quota ownership and labeling.
I am, however, looking forward to trying the McBites, and I bet my stepson will devour them, and want for more–but then when I cook him a nice piece of local cod or blackfish he’ll squirm and moan and act as if I had just thrown a javelin through his leg.