Friday, November 30, 2007


Sargocentron tiere(Cuvier, 1829); squirrelfish. Collected at Palumbanes Islands, east coast of Luzon, Philippines, 1 June 1909. The specimen on which this painting was based cannot be located. Squirrelfishes are nocturnal reef dwellers, and they hide in caves and crevices during the day. Most species are brilliant red in life, sometimes with patterns of lines or spots. (CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE SOURCE)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fish Illustrations

I have recently started to collect realistic fish prints. Most of these were produced over 100 years ago and are of amazing accuracy, and beauty. Among artist I have in my collection currently are Denton, Edmonson, and Cuvier. I am very interested to acquire something from Kumataro Ito. Until then I will enjoy the illustrations like the one above online.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sweet Maine Shrimp (Pandalus Borealis)

December first we will be seeing the first of these little beauties. Cold water shrimp have numerous names: bay shrimp, tiny shrimp, baby shrimp, pink shrimp, cooked & peeled, salad shrimp, cold water shrimp. Cold water shrimp are wild-harvested from the northern waters of Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and the U.S. coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Maine. They have bright, reddish-pink shells, both raw and cooked. The meat is white with skin tones that range in color from pale pink to a rich, reddish-pink. Cold water shrimp are small in comparison with warm water species; yet take four to five years to reach maturity. Most come to the U.S. market cooked and peeled and range in size from 150 to 500 shrimp per pound. Cold water shrimp have a sweet taste and soft texture. A small quantity of cold water shrimp is available fresh, shell-on, and headless, often from Maine or Oregon. They are available in the local market during the harvest periods.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top Ten Seafood Sellers

Here are two lists showing seafood consumption. The first is from the N.F.I. (National Fisheries International). The next one is from sales data for New York only. Compiled from various sources. Both are for the last full year.


  7. CRAB
  8. COD
  9. CLAMS


  6. COD
  7. BASS

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thansgiving Seafood Meal

I had heard that the first Thanksgiving meal was very different than the kind we have today, it was heavy on the seafood selection! How great is that? So here is my ultimate reproduction seafood centric Thanksgiving menu suggestions

Lobster Fisherman, James Ormsbee Chapin

lobster and leek bisque

cod chowder, winter squash and Holland cheese


smoked herring spread, watercress and sourdough biscuit

roasted clams
and oysters, salt pork and sorrel

bay scallop, apple cider vinegar

Main Courses

whole grilled bluefish, cabbage and radish slaw

maple roasted striped bass, dried wild berry compote

chestnut and oyster cornbread dressing

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. If you would like to read more on the first festival that we have come to know as Thanksgiving, you can find out more by visiting these websites.

Pilgrim Hall Museum

Crabing OK'd

Despite the recent oil spill in the San Francisco Bay area the Department of Fish and Game has said it will allow the dungeness crab season to open in areas not directly affected.

photo courtesy of :
Washington department of Fish and Wildlife

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I am often asked about fake scallops by sales people and chefs. Here is a very brief summary of some general definitions.

  • Dry- untreated product that has been removed from the shell, that is all.
  • Wet - processed in a tri-sodium phosphate solution, also called dipped.
  • Frozen - of varied quality see above.
  • Sea - ocean harvested scallops sizes range from under 6 to 40 per lb.
  • Bay - harvest locations vary and determine flavor, northern products are preferred.
  • Scallop product - this is analogous to "Krab" aka surami, and is made from scallop pieces glued together with bovine hemoglobin, yum.
So fake scallops do exist, but it is very unlikely that they will be cut from any species of ray or skate. While it is quite possible to cut out circles from these fish: the texture and fiber direction is very different. And honestly not worth the effort.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dungeness Crab Fishing Delayed

Due to the effects of the recent fuel spill dungeness crab fishing has been delayed . This is just one of what may be many problems that could arise from the fuel spill in San Francisco Bay. Local fisherman are eager to help in the cleanup.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ocean Sweets

Here come those sweet as candy scallops from Nantucket, Massachusetts. The first harvests started on November 1st. Every year our chefs start salivating at the mention of these translucent gems. Nantucket bay scallops are harvested by a limited group of skilled fishermen supplementing their income. These treats garner top dollar to these baymen, and even in the peak of season supply can be tight. I must confess that when they first arrive in the warehouse I am quick to gobble down more than I need to determine quality. Some interesting facts a bout Nantucket Bays:
  • Bay scallops only live a year or two, and usually die after spawning the first time.
  • Scallops must be over two and one quarter inches. But may grow to four or more.
  • Only scallops with an annual growth ridge are allowed to be harvested.
  • Rules are enforced by the local Constable or Fish Warden.
  • The catch limit is 5 bushels (provided by the Town) per person per day and no more than 10 bushels per boat if two or more persons occupy the same boat.
  • No commercial harvest is allowed on Sundays, a carryover from times past.
  • Air temperature must reach 28 degrees by 10:00 am. If the Temperature is too cold then a red flag will be flown indicating no scalloping allowed.
  • Predatory bycatch like starfish, periwinkles, and crabs must be taken ashore and left above the high tide mark.
  • Eelgrass is an important asset to the scallop and in years when there is a problem with the grass, like in the 1930’s, then the population of bay scallops will be low.
  • Harvests have varied over the years: 2004/2005 = 15,000 bushels, 2005/2006 = 3,850 bushels, 2006/2007 = 5,500.
  • The start of the season had roughly 140 commercially licensed scallopers.
  • The family scallop season started October 1st with reports of full bushels being brought in.
  • One million seed scallops released early this year to assure future harvests. Plans are already underway to release another million seed next year.

Nantucket is one of the last remaining wild bay scallop fisheries left in New England. So despite some low harvests, we can look forward to this long standing resource to be available for some time to come.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Every winter a new twist on an old fish arrives, Icelandic cod. The cod that comes from Iceland never ceases to amaze me, despite the fact it is the same species as the cod Gadus morhua we receive from the eastern U.S. seaboard everyday. Cod is shipped in 50lb boxes containing 4 fish each weighing 10-15lbs head off. The state that this fish comes to the United States is just awesome. My supplier in Iceland tells me that it is because of the cold waters that the fish come from. Well to some extent I can believe that that is true, but I think they must be handling the fish in a much better way. And the first clue is the use of gel packs and not ice. Although keeping fish buried in ice will keep it cold and limit deterioration, the ice itself often causes physical damage to the flesh of the fish. The Icelandic cod we receive is packed carefully and in a box that allows any liquid to drain away from the fish. This cod stays in rigor for days. As a final note, the Icelandic cod fishery is highly managed and efforts are being made to promote sustainability because of the huge dependency upon the ocean as it relates to the economy of Iceland. But for now we can only say that insufficient data exists for this fishery.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Siberian Sturgeon

Siberian sturgeon comes to New York via Florida. Arriving Monday, November 5th from Mote Marine Aquarium is an environmentally friendly and sustainable aquaculture product. About 9 years ago the aquarium started a project to raise these prehistoric fish in an effort to find out if it could be a practical solution to the depletion of wild occurring specimens in their native regions. The deciding factor would be to see if the farming of this sturgeon is economically viable on a commercial scale. The fish are grown in the best of ways. All effluent is treated and there is no negative impact on the local environment because Mote uses a closed recirculating tank system. The fish is fed a controlled diet that is free of pigments, antibiotics, and hormones. The feed is also certified melamine-free. All in all this is a great fish on its own. The sturgeon is firm, rich, meaty and full of healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. In addition Mote shares all its data with other Florida aquaculture facilities to promote sustainability.