It Takes a Village to Make Boccacio Rockfish Tacos


December 19, 2017

Pacific Elementary School in Davenport is a pioneer in healthy, local school lunches. In 1984, they founded Foodlab, a program where students prepare school lunches using only organic produce, milk and eggs, and sustainably raised proteins. Melissa Mahoney, board member at the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust and Fisheries Policy Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund, visited the class on October 27th to talk to the students about fishing and the Monterey Bay. Melissa’s son, Nash, is a third grader at the school, and Melissa helped bring a program called Bay2Tray to Davenport. 

Bay2Tray is a program run by the local Community Supported Fishery, Real Good Fish. They usually purchase a deep water fish called Pacific grenadier, which is the unintended catch of the black cod (sablefish) fishery.  As part of the California Thursdays initiative by the Center for Ecoliteracy, they provide grenadier for school lunches.  This helps get fishermen more money, helps resolve food waste, and makes a local, delicious product available at prices public schools can afford.  However, on the day Melissa was visiting she learned that these fish tacos were being made from the recently recovered bocaccio rockfish. 


These bocaccio were caught by Monterey fisherman, Joe Pennisi, with quota leased to him by the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust. This made the students' feedback on the tacos feel personal to Melissa. Some of the students resisted the idea of cafeteria fish, including Melissa’s son, Nash. She convinced him to try them, and was happy to see him look at her with an expression of surprise and say, “these are good!” 

To learn more about the recovery of bocaccio rockfish and other species, click here.

To learn more about MBFT’s leasing program, click here.

Sherry Flumerfelt