I can’t believe another week’s gone by! Today has been a busy day and I nearly forgot about my blog post because I’ve been trying to organize a million different things! But don’t fear— my weekly update is here to inform you about what’s been up!
Last week was a pretty relaxed week, with the promise that the project was about to kick into high gear. While I have one adviser at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the other is stationed in Tillamook and Portland. Thus, we must communicate through e-mail and on the phone and it has been difficult to get in touch with him, as he is busy with several projects. Since he is my link to all my interview contacts, I was starting to get worried after not hearing from him. However, I got one contact last week. The owner of Tillamook Bay Boathouse agreed to meet with me on Wednesday morning at his main facility in Garibaldi, OR. I got to take a rental car (a sleek, black Mazda 3!) up the coast for a beautiful two-hour drive, but as soon as I got to the boathouse I felt a little intimidated. It was my first interview outside of Newport and with someone I didn’t know very much about. While I felt a little inadequate, I began speaking to him with confidence about the topic of shipping seafood to the growing Asian market and he became receptive. I think that as soon as he noticed my interest in the topic, as well as my knowledge about
the methods and barriers of shipping crabs his confidence in my participation in this project grew.
There are many barriers to shipping seafood to China, but the greatest one I’ve seen so far is government regulation of health inspection on these exports. As the Boathouse’s owner pointed out, having a more efficient inspection system that stations inspectors in locations that have a large number of live seafood exports would not only make it easier for producers, but also create jobs. In a still recovering economy it is difficult to understand why seafood harvesters can’t fully take advantage of the huge demand for live seafood in Asian countries, but much of it has to do with NOAA’s inspection system. It requires producers to pay fees that aren’t uniform because of travel expenses that must be factored into the cost of the certificates. While I spoke with someone from Oregon Department of Agriculture about their attempts to work out a system with NOAA for providing certificates through ODA that are NOAA approved, it will likely be a long time before that will actually be organized.
I was able to tour the Boathouse, see their Dungeness crab holding containers, network to get a few more contacts for my project, and got a complimentary can of Tillamook Bay Boathouse’s Albacore tuna (perks of the job!). Surprisingly, there aren’t many producers who do what Tillamook Bay Boathouse and Oregon Oyster Farms do in terms of shipping internationally so it’s important to get in touch with any who are. Also, towards the end of the week I began receiving a slew of contacts from my adviser and had to begin getting in touch with them to plan site visits to the Port of Portland and Port of Seattle, as well as a couple of other locations along the coast. I’m really starting to see this project take shape and I’m excited to get going on a big interview trip.
This weekend was relaxing and fun. I made two attempts at crabbing — both unsuccessful! While it’s mostly a waiting game, I think when I finally get enough for a meal I will feel undoubtedly satisfied. Also, a few of us took
a trip down to Florence, OR and went sand boarding at Honeyman National Park—definitely my favorite day trip of the summer. There was even a lake that was warm enough to jump in.
Anyways, this week should be mostly organizational work. Getting the logistics together for a multi-city trip (including Portland, Astoria, Seattle, and maybe even Vancouver B.C.) is a little nerve-wracking, especially when you’re going alone, but I’m excited to hear back from my contacts and get the remainder of my interviews squared away. The end of the week will include a trip to Corvallis for a mid-summer check-in to see what the rest of the crew has been doing this summer, see you there!!