Do you love your oysters, scallops and clams? Want to do your bit towards balancing the environment? Here is your chance to contribute! Save the bay, eat a ray! Read on to know more.
If you are a Virginia resident and if you love your seafood, primarily oysters, clams and scallops, then there is a cause for you to worry. The cownose ray, popularly recognized as the Chesapeake ray has been charged with wiping out the entire shellfish, clam beds with its strong jaws. The sudden increase in the cownose ray population has been instigated by the decrease in the number of the inland coastal shark.
The executive director of the Virginia Marine Products Board, Mike Hutt has been working hard to familiarise people with the Chesapeake ray, spread awareness on the danger the ray poses to the smaller sea species and encouraging people in eating a ray to save the bay and including these rays in their regular diet. The ray tastes a little different than its white-fleshed cousin, the skate."It's not flaky, and it has a texture and tastes closer to veal or beef," says Mike Hutt.
Ray Popson the seafood manager at Wegmans, Hunt Valley, went a step further and offered tasty Chesapeake samples and placed a huge sized, 30 pound ray on display. "The reaction has been incredible," says Popson. "Some people don't even know it's in the bay or what it can do."
The reaction to the Chesapeake ray has been encouraging. Chef Tim Miller of the Mie N Yu restaurant has been serving the Chesapeake ray to his customers, rolled into a sushi hand roll.
"It's an adventurous dish for a lot of people who aren't familiar with the ray being used as a main food item.It's always on the menu with a paragraph about why we're serving it, the story behind the dish and that it's considered sustainable," says Miller.
The process to control the Chesapeake ray population may be a little tricky and it would be a slow one if people are not aware of the Save the bay, eat a ray initiative. So, if you love having your clams, oysters in your meal, join the wagon and save the bay by eating a ray.
Image credit: dnr.state.md.us