Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ice House - Port Hood, Nova Scotia, Canada

Tag-A-Giant Canada, Round Two kicked off on October 15, with the departure of TAG Director, Dr. George Shillinger, and TRCC Technician, Danny Coffey to Port Hood, Nova Scotia.

TAG Canada Headquarters – The Lighthouse Cottages, 
Port Hood, Nova Scotia
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)

High winds and choppy seas kept the tagging team off the water the following morning, but the commercial fishermen assisting the TAG effort braved the weather to pursue the giants. TAG veteran, Robbie Schallert accompanied Captain Dennis Cameron and his crew on the Bay Queen IV in the hopes of securing samples from any commercial captures. 

The Bay Queen IV returning to the docks at Port Hood
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)

George and Danny were joined by producer, D’Arcy Marsh of Otter Films, who drove up to Port Hood from Boston, to capture the tagging efforts on film.

The inclement weather provided the TAG team with an opportunity to spend some time in the Icehouse (photo of  Icehouse), where lead fish dresser Duncan Sutherland, practiced his trade in front of the TAG team, demonstrating how commercially captured fish are weighed and dressed for shipment to international buyers.  

The Icehouse in Port Hood, Nova Scotia, Canada.
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)

The fish dressing process involves a series of steps, beginning with the point of capture, when fish are initially towed behind the boat, and then bled by a quick knife slice behind the pectoral fin.  Upon arrival at the docks, the fish are hoisted from the boat, carried into the Icehouse and placed upon the scales.  

Bluefin tuna captured by commercial fishermen near Port Hood, Nova Scotia.
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)
Following weigh-in, the fish are dressed; a process involving removal of the pectoral and dorsal fins (to enable the fish to fit in the shipping crate), extraction of the viscera, removal of the caudal fin (tail) below the third finlet, and decapitation. 
Bluefin tuna weigh-in at the Icehouse.
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)

The dressed fish are re-weighed, given a final rinse, and dumped into an icebath, where they await a trip (usually within 6-12 hours) to foreign and domestic markets, and their final destination on a sushi platter.

-Dr. George Shillinger

Duncan Sutherland rinses a dressed bluefin tuna at the Icehouse.
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)
Duncan Sutherland places a dressed bluefin tuna in ice at the Icehouse.
(photo by Dr. George Shillinger)

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