Growing up on the Gulf Coast has made seafood a way of life for me. Afterall, it’s how we Catholics in New Orleans survive Lent-we throw crawfish boil parties (wink). When we considered moving to the Caribbean, I never thought I would have to do some networking to get a hold of some fresh seafood. Island = seafood everywhere, right ?
Getting fresh fish in Dominica is a wonderful cultural experience. When the local fishermen return to Portsmouth with the daily catch, a conch shell is blown over and over to alert the town that fish is available. People start coming out of their homes and stopping by in their cars to view what is on display. The fish that tend to be available are tuna, mahi mahi (locally called dolphin), red snapper, and king fish. Typically the fish is 7-8 ECD (3 USD) per pound. If you want the fish cleaned you will be charged one extra EC per pound. It’s good to bring your own plastic bag/ziploc to put your fish in.
Since I don’t live close to the bayfront, unfortunately I don’t ever hear when the conch shell is blown 😦 Students that live near Glanvilla and Portsmouth are more likely to hear all the action. So the key is to have a contact person in those areas who can text you or call you when they hear the conch. Otherwise, fish consumption will be reserved for when you are eating out or buying imported frozen fish…and there is no way I am going to buy frozen fish when I live on an island.
Yesterday at 5pm I finally got a call from a local contact that the fisherman had just come in. “Hurry, hurry” he said, “before it’s all gone”. I had been waiting to hear from him for about a week. So I got on my bike and did a mad dash for the water front. The catch of the day was mahi mahi, king fish, and one of the smaller, narrower fish-baloo? ballyho?…something like that. So above is pictured my 5 lbs of mahi. Cooked it this evening with a splash of lime…so yummy!
So the key to getting fresh seafood here is to have some connections–through your landlord, friends that live in Glanvilla, getting to know the gentlemen who loiter around the bayfront etc. Now that I have obtaining fresh fish down pat…next on the agenda is to find some fresh shrimp!