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Fish Carcasses

There is a right way and a wrong way to dispose of your fish bodies.

September 1, 2003
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Last week the community association sent me a letter. “Dear Mr. Rudow,” it read. “Area residents are concerned by the growing number of vultures inhabiting the woods behind your house. Kindly cease disposing of fish carcasses in this area.” I should have known this was going to happen-there is a right way and a wrong way to dispose of your fish bodies.

WRONG: Tossing the fish into the woods. Note the above-mentioned result. RIGHT: Bury them at least a foot deep, so the vultures and turkey buzzards don’t aggravate the neighbors.

WRONG: Toss the bodies off the pier. They’re not a pretty sight, and their smell increases as they decompose. RIGHT: Run your filet knife through both eyes of the fish, and make a cut through its air bladder and intestine. This allows it to sink to the bottom and become crab food.

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WRONG: Bury whole or cut-up bodies in the garden to fertilize it. Later, when you’re digging out carrots or potatoes, you’ll get stuck in the fingers by old bones. RIGHT: Grind the fish bodies into meal, mix with water to make a slurry, and spread it over the garden. Not even Miracle-Gro can match the results.

WRONG: Bag ’em and put them in the trash. RIGHT: Why waste the bounty of the sea? If you don’t have a grinder and a garden, freeze the bodies and save them for crab bait. Or remove the guts and boil the head and skeleton to make bouillabaisse stock.

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