A contingency search exercise is like casting a net off the side of a boat. The fisherman knows to cast in suitable waters at the right time of the year. The yield can be a net full of fish; some edible, some too small, some just not suitable for the local palate and some acceptable but not exactly the preferred dish at the local seafood restaurant. There might even be a coral trout or a kingfish in the net, but you are never 100% sure of the perfect catch, as casting a net is an indiscriminate way of extracting fish from the sea. There is wastage and an unusable by-product. The time spent fishing in this way will bring volumes of fish that are not all useable when only one is required.
A fisherman on the dockside with a fishing rod can bait his line and catch individual fish, one at a time, but he is never sure what will be reeled in or even if it’s edible. Getting the required fish will take some time and lots of patience.
A trawler can drag nets across the ocean and haul vast quantities of fish of the same species. Using sounder and other technology helps ensure that the fishing happens in the right place and at the right sea level and temperature. Large quantities must be sorted and allocated into boxes and frozen on board for the dockside markets and wholesalers. The fish will be a few days old by the time it reaches your plate and may have been purchased by someone else who bought it earlier off the boat.
The spear fisherman does it best! What would you like to eat? How big? The spearo will know where to get it and where it wants to reside under the waves. If it’s impossible, the spearo will tell you that there are better times of the year or the better parts of the ocean to catch a particular species. They can tell you what is available. It doesn’t have to be feeding. Once the spearo has been appropriately briefed by the chef, they have all the information that is needed to execute. After the execution, the catch is brought ashore and delivered onto the plate. There is no sorting or throwing back extra fish that are not needed. There is no deciphering which type of fish it is. It is, as ordered, and the spear fisherman knew what the chef was looking for from the outset and sought to deliver just that.
It’s the most sustainable practice, it may have taken a bit longer, and the spearo may have taken time to swim to get to the right place and had to wait until the best size came along …but the outcome yielded as close a match as possible to what the chef described.
The spearo is skilled in holding their breath, they wear the right wetsuit to keep them warm at depth and the right amount of weight on the belt to bring them to the correct depth. They wear expensive diving masks and long fins to allow them to remain effective for the duration. They are armed with shooting equipment suitable for catching a single fish at a time.