About Mark Eather
“The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation concluded in 1998 that global fishing capacity was 2.5 times greater than global fish stocks could sustain; since then capacity has increased” (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/fisheries/fisheries-review/submissions-received/Stop_the_Trawler_Alliance.pdf)
“We abuse land and ocean because we regard them as commodities belonging to us. When we see land and ocean as a community to which we belong, we can only then begin to use them with love and respect. Then Mother Nature will love and respect us back ….. instead of punishing us”.
I employ sensitive, sustainable hand-caught fishing methodologies. My seafood is all of the highest Iki-jime standard. Iki-jime means to quickly and humanely brain kill – the classic Iki-jime technique is far more complex, but effectively it means –Catch it quick (i.e. as stress-free as possible), Kill it quick and Chill it quick. When properly administered, the process creates the most outstanding quality and flavour imaginable in seafood – a fact that I’ve proven time and again, throughout the globe. I’m a firm believer that the same process (and associated value-add to the product) actually should apply to all foods destined for the plate….even vegetables, and eggs !
My adoption of the Iki-jime method came about because of a chance meeting on the wharf in Eden, NSW in the late 80’s with the esteemed Japanese Iki-jime Master, Mr. Masuko. Over several years I was educated in the art of Iki-jime treatment of seafood by Japanese mentors. This fish is sustainably, individually line-caught, and instantly killed [to minimize stress to the fish]. This method delivers the best-possible seafood product to the consumer. This is the total opposite to mass-caught seafood which endures rough handling and stresses which have an adverse effect on both the flavour and quality of the product. The Iki-jime grade methodology (a) individually optimises every single fish to its absolute maximum potential – as to both pricing ..and taste, and just as importantly; (b) results in a ZERO FOOTPRINT on the marine environs and ecology. No damage to the environment. No unwanted by-catch or wastage.
In the early 90’s Neil Perry found out about my product whilst on a visit to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo… where he commented to an Auctioneer that he would love to have such quality of fish for his Restaurants back in Australia. The Auctioneer said incredulously “ but this is Mark San fish from Sydney”!! From that moment forward, by insisting on Iki-jime grade product, Neil Perry changed the face of seafood fine dining in this country.
A fisherman for more than 40 years [since I was old enough to hold a rod], and an avid Diver [several thousand dives], with an incredible passion for not only understanding and creating world-class seafood, but also vehemently lobbying for its ethical and sustainable harvest. I’ve never been one to take a backward step … and I’ve been a continual thorn in the side of all “mass catching” fishing operators (where I’ve actually attracted death threats) including Industry Administrators and Policymakers – both State and Federal. “I am NOT trying to put them out of business, they have large investments to protect and beautiful families to nurture and feed. I just want them to change their methodology … and equally the public has a role to play too, in perceptions and appreciation of how genuine, ethical, sustainable seafood quality is achieved – utilising truly ethical and sustainable methodologies”.
My passion is for lobbying change in the abhorrent mass-catch techniques utilised globally, where dredging, trawling, and other mass-catch and destructive, devastating fishing practices have been permitted by the relevant authorities.
These practices result in what is internationally termed “overshoot”.
Overshoot occurs when the fishing industry’s methodology places such a demand on the natural ecosystems that it actually exceeds the supply and/ or the regenerative capacity of the ecosystem. Our waters are being exploited and it is unknown how long it will require for them to regenerate. Or if they will be able to regenerate. My observations indicate the authorities who are charged with protecting and ensuring fishing sustainability are not sufficiently acting to address this overshoot and associated devastation. There is a plethora of evidence globally of resource collapse …. yet our decision makers keep inviting the same perpetrators to come and fish our waters ?? …. it is just beyond belief:
I’ve repeatedly petitioned authorities and government representatives to little avail. Yet Seafood Industry Methodology MUST change. And fast.
My outspokenness and requests for the authorities to change the very nature of current fishing methodology – to more sustainable practices have repeatedly made me a target of the industry authorities (and commercial fisherman engaged in such practices) persistently seeking to discredit me. With some threatening to do worse.
In an effort to initiate change in the industry [after many years of utter frustration with the incompetence, lethargy and inaction of Government Departments] – I’ve decided that “people power” is the only way that we would achieve change … basically – if the average consumer is educated enough to know what to demand, … there will be no market for mass-caught product – hence the mass-catch operators will have to change their methodology.
There are many “Spin Doctors” in our the seafood industry yet most have never set foot on a fishing vessel, let alone actually caught fish for a living … they are just “well read” [including many of our “policy makers” in the industry, who alarmingly, can make life-changing decisions, that massively impact on the average fisherman – yet these people have zero practical experience !!]. Similarly, many Chefs and Fishmongers are great at “talking the talk” …claiming to support ethical and sustainable fishing, but very few actually put those beliefs into practice by actually “walking the walk”. I want to give the average consumer the tools necessary to keep them all honest. On that same tack, I want to continually identify those who ARE “walking the walk” to help them achieve the recognition that they richly deserve. [see Restaurants]
Prior to early 2013, I’ve never previously participated in any form of Web or social media … My product has spoken for itself. But this website and other forms of media have become necessary if I’m to help educate the average consumer about what to look out for – and to develop the tools necessary to drive REAL and lasting change … from the very grassroots of the marketplace outward.
There are many compliments and kind words contained in the testimonials page on this site … but the greatest compliment that I have ever received, is that I am currently entrusted to train the Grandchildren of my Japanese mentors … in the art of Iki-jime.