On a late-spring Saturday, dock manager Stephen Bardsley held a monkfish high overhead at the Point Pleasant Fisherman’s Dock Co-Operative in New Jersey. Its mottled skin mimicked the color of the ocean floor, and a fishing-rod-shaped antenna dangled from its head. Its sharp teeth formed a gaping subaquatic grin as a group of visitors pushed in.
“Little fish swim up, and they can’t even see the difference in color,” explains Bardsley to his guests. Then the fishing-rod antenna becomes a hunting tool. He paused for effect. “When a smaller fish comes in to bite that rod…ROOF!” he barks.
Laughs erupted—though admittedly, this crowd was familiar with the fish. The dock tour that day was for student employees and members of Fishadelphia, a Philadelphia-based community-supported fishery (CSF) program that fosters connections between urban consumers and coastal harvesters.