Quality Counts in Herbs Goblirsch’s Oregon’s Choice Gourmet Albacore

News-Times, Newport, OR, Wednesday, August 14, 1991 C3

By Steve Card

Quality, not quantity is the motto Herb Goblirsch lives by when he pilots his fishing vessel, EZC out of Yaquina Bay in search of albacore tuna.

The care used in handling and preserving the fish result in a difference you can taste, Goblirsch says, and also has led to a loyal following of people waiting to purchase fish off the boat when Goblirsch returns from his trips.

“We’re real fussy about fish”, he said. “We think more of quality than filling the boat up.”

That attention to quality even extends to lining the decks with foam pads so fish will not be bruised when they are reeled in. The fish are then immediately bled and within 30 minutes, they are subjected to “air blast refrigeration”, which freezes them very cold, very quickly.

The very act of bleeding the albacore is not something normally done by fishermen, said Goblirsch. In fact, for those selling to canneries, it is a disadvantage in terms of their dollars and profit.

“You don’t get paid for bleeding fish for the cannery”, Goblirsch said. When a fish is bled, it loses about one pound of its weight, so a boat carrying as many as 1,000 fish would lose 1,000 pounds worth of profit when delivering to the cannery.

But Goblirsch thinks the difference in taste is worth the time and trouble to bleed the fish.

“If you don’t, it tastes a lot stronger, and the meat is not as white,” he said. When the fish is bled, it does not taste as “fishy” or strong, Goblirsch claims, adding “a lot of customers tell me they notice the difference.”

The freezing process is the other important difference in the way Goblirsch handles his fish. “Most cannery boats use salt spray brine when freezing,” he said. “If warmed up, the fish soak up salt, resulting in a salty taste.

“Albacore has so much potential as a fresh fish product that it deserves to be handled in the best way possible.”

When in pursuit of albacore, Goblirsch flashes with hooks, rather than nets, as do other American fishermen. “We have the original dolphin-free albacore,” he said. “Because we fish hooks, we don’t catch anything but albacore. Dolphins are too smart to take these artificial hooks.

“It’s the cleanest target fishery in the world.”

This type of fishing has its drawback, however. “It’s very ineffective way of catching fish,” said Goblirsch. “We need a healthy resource in order to do well dragging hooks.”

He expressed frustration over some Asian fishermen who continue to string out miles of drift nets. “The albacore are getting harder and harder to get in the North Pacific. Drift netters are overfishing” he said.

Goblirsch goes wherever he has to in search of the tuna, sometimes as far as 1,000 miles from port. He always returns to Yaquina Bay, however, to sell the fish fresh from his boat. That supply of fish usually sells out in just a few days.

“People will call us and put in orders for fish” Goblirsch said. “We have a loyal following of people who buy from us every year.”

In recent years, Goblirsch has also canned some of the fish. “We’ve had a custom canner can some of our fish for us and we put our label on it” he said.

That label is “Oregon’s Choice Gourmet Albacore.” The product is gaining popularity in several stores throughout the area.

“Health food stores are beginning to take an interest in it” Goblirsch said.

“It’s very different from what you buy off the supermarket shelf.”

The popularity of the fish he brings home attests to the methods of operation that Goblirsch has developed over the years.

“I enjoy producing a high quality product,” he said. “We take pride in that quality. That’s why we do it.”

Even the license plate on Goblirsch’s pickup serves to promote the fisherman’s trade.

This label proclaims the quality of the albacore marketed by Goblirsch, which is available in several health food stores throughout the area.

Over the years, Herb Goblirsch of Otter Rock, the skipper of the fishing vessel EZC, has developed unique methods to insure the quality of the albacore tuna he catches, and he says it has resulted in “a difference you can taste.”

American albacore fishermen use hooks rather than nets when going after albacore, which Goblirsch says makes it “the cleanest target fishery in the world.”

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