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Showing posts from June, 2008

Now Do I Have To Reconsider Sockeye?

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A recent article in the Canadian Paper Globe and Mail highlights the plight of B.C. sockeye.

Trout Unlimited, an Oregon sport fishing and conservancy group has partnered with a supermarket chain to focus on the issue of Bristol Bay and a planned mining operation that could starve the areas rivers of water, and be devastating to salmon stocks.

Marine Harvest doing something to protect wild salmon migratory routes.

Wild Pacific salmon used to be easy, but now with news about bycatch in the pollack fisheries and these new stories we must take a new look.

Just to keep you updated I will be taking home some Pacific chum salmon (aka: keta, dog, silverbright) Oncorhynchusketa.
I will be cooking the fish a few ways, and will post the results.

Trucking Crunch, Seaboard Express Closes the Doors

Late yesterday afternoon I was told by one of my vendors of the pending demise of Seaboard Express, Inc. In business since 1977, the news of this is more problematic than surprising, as it was confirmed by six other reputable seafood purveyors in Boston and New England and from employees within the company. Seaboard Express of New Bedford was one of the larger carriers of fresh and frozen seafood that shipped product up and down the Northeast corridor. We have been hearing for some time how the rising costs of diesel, and less than full loads has increased trucker's costs substantially. So that leaves only a handful of existing carriers to fill the void. This is most likely to lead to increased shipping costs, that will in the short term be absorbed by intermediate parties. But the net result is less competition, and rising costs that will eventually be passed onto the end users. It is always hard to see a company close, so I wish the former employees and principals all the best.

Sustainable Shrimp Cocktail

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Sustainable Seafood guides recommend using U.S. wild caught shrimp. One type of shrimp that rates high is the diminutive Maine shrimp,pandalus borealisit is also sold as Canadian pink shrimp. It is commonly sold cooked and frozen and could go by the name ti-ti shrimp as well. Many of us had this shrimp in the form of those SauSea jarred shrimp cocktails. You know the ones that were mostly sauce, and came in a container that found a future as an orange juice glass for use at the breakfast table. In some ways that childhood treat is the inspiration for this easy recipe. Though pandalus borealis is not in season right now I had put up some frozen cleaned Maine shrimp meat for just such an occasion. You can purchase the already cooked frozen variety and achieve the same results.

Cocktail de Camarones
[makes 3-5 servings]

2 lbs of Cooked Maine Shrimp, pandalus borealis
3 ribs of Celery {1/4 inch dice}1 medium size Red Onion {1/4 inch dice}3/4 cup Ketchup {I am hooked on Whole Foods Organic}J…

Sea Stories

The Blue Ocean Institute has an interesting site devoted to better writers than I. They call this collection Sea Stories. It is an interesting mix of poetry and short stories from contributors of all sorts. The next issue could even contain writings by you; should you want to contribute they have a submission tool.

BYCATCH

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One of the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) great success story has been the certification of the Alaskan Pollack fishery. Some 100 plus boats (factory type ships) harvest huge amounts of pollack under the watchful eyes of The MSC and the Alaska division of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency). One problem is the huge amount of salmon bycatch that is inadvertently caught with the pollack. Strict guidelines currently have these boats discarding tons of fish. Surely there has to be some better way to handle all this bycatch. Below is today's AP article. Please cast your vote in the sidebar about bycatch.

Associated Press/AP Online

Enlarge Photo June 23, 2008- ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Florence Johnson can rattle off myriad ways to prepare salmon. Drawing on a lifetime of fishing the Yukon River, she recommends canning, salting, or drying the fillets in her smokehouse near the heart of downtown Eagle. "I'd be very lost without it," Johnson said. "I can eat sa…

Fishmonger's Recommended Reading

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I guess you would expect me to suggest you read the new book Bottomfeeder, but I won't burden you this beautiful summer weekend with something so serious. Instead pick up one of these, they are only remotely seafood related.

A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet - Mix up a few margaritas and enjoy this lighthearted tale about a young man searching for bonefish and a second chance.Atomic Lobster by Time Dorsey - The title has little to do with the book, but if you like classic pulp fiction with a slightly sick Floridian sense of humor this Tampa native will have you laughing out loud at the beach this weekend.Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish by G. Bruce Knecht - Ok so one of my selections is about commercial fishing. I think that this is a great informational non-fiction work about "Chilean Sea Bass". I am only recommending this because it is written very well and reads like a mystery novel, besides some excerpts about the Antarctic could have a cooling effec…

Grouper Switch Follow Up

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Red Grouper(Epinephelus morio)

This morning I received an interesting offer sheet from one of my suppliers. The offer was to purchase a new item they will be carrying. The item a fish called emperer (lethrinus lentjan), sold as a frozen CO2 treated fillet. This is one of the many fish that made it's way to the tables of restaurants under the guise of grouper. I applaud the efforts to legitimize grouper sales.

Last October following reports in the Saint Petersburg Times and a full blown investigation by the Florida Department Of Agriculture I wrote:

If you live in Florida, or have vacationed there you would know that the Grouper Sandwich is the default State meal. From Gainesville to Key West you would have a hard time not finding the ubiquitous selection on the menu of most restaurants. Fried, blackened or grilled millions have been served to locals and unsuspecting tourists alike. The big dirty secret is finally out in the open. The chances that the sandwich you or anyone else ate w…

Rising Fuel Cost Saves the Ocean, Maybe Not

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In the past month the rising costs of fuel, diesel in particular have caused an uproar from coast to coast and from sea to sea. Strikes in France, Spain, and Portugal. Work stoppages in Japan. Limited days at sea for struggling American boats, and the list goes on. So how is this good? It is not. But maybe it could be good for those threatened species you say. You know less fisherman out there catching fish from day to day, that has to take some pressure off of the reserves right? This line of thinking only highlights the problem with the perception of fishing today. Unlike what most consumers might think about the fishing industry; small boats and small crews hand lining fish, most fish is taken by larger vessels with high tech gear, and high yield fishing techniques. High fuel prices really only affect the small guys. So when fuel costs rise some of these old school artisanal fishermen are the ones most hurt. So despite what may seem like a panacea for ocean conservation, could actu…
Calif. Delivers Final Truckload of Juvenile Salmon to San Francisco BaySubscribe to RSS Feed for SeafoodSource News – Supply & Trade
Subscribe to Seafood News via email The Sacramento Bee
June 18, 2008- State officials on Tuesday trucked their final load of juvenile salmon from hatcheries to San Francisco Bay, marking the end of an unprecedented effort to help a dwindling species. In total, the Department of Fish and Game hauled 20.2 million fall-run chinook salmon smolts from three hatcheries on the American, Feather and Mokelumne rivers. The fish were deposited into net pens on shore, then towed by barge out into San Pablo Bay for release. The state has trucked salmon for years, but never on this scale, said spokesman Harry Morse, nor has anyone else. "I called both Washington and Oregon and asked them if anybody had transported a number this massive, and both those agencies said no," Morse said. Fish and Game decided to truck nearly all its hatchery chinook…

The Greenpeace List

Today Greenpeace released a report grading major U.S. supermarkets on sustainability. Most did not do well. The highest rated of the group Whole Foods received only four out of a possible 10.

I was reminded about the presence of this report by an e-mail from Greenpeace despite the fact that I had not been a strong supporter of the group in the past.

Hi Matthew!

Over at Greenpeace I've been looking over tons of blogs on ocean conservation and seafood, ect., and yours has caught my eye. I thought you might be interested in our new report?

From overfishing to bottom trawling to overcrowded fish farms, the seafood industry threatens our marine ecosystems to the point of collapse. Sustainable fishing is a key to maintaining healthy oceans which in turn help stabilize the planetary environment and the climate at large. Greenpeace has just released a unique report detailing the seafood purchasing practices of major American supermarkets, markets who make billions of dollars a year…

The Great Salmon Debate

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This morning I received a request from a reader to write about some talking points that the Atlantic salmon farmers have produced.

Having been on the front lines with consumers in a retail seafood environment I have tried to educate myself on the pros and cons of Salmon farming. New York has perhaps some of the best educated seafood consumers due to the presence of those diligent writers, and op-ed columnists at the New York Times. Don't get me wrong, I think that the Times is a great paper. What happens is the same people that come in and asked me for four six ounce center cut Chilean Sea Bass portions (hey people, fish have tails!) after reading a recipe in the Times Wednesday's Dining Out Section are confused about PCB scares and the like involving farmed salmon.

One problem with the farmed salmon debate is the fact that land based proteins have many of the same issues with contamination. The difference here I think is that The beef, poultry, and swine industries have muc…

Iron Seeding the Oceans

Have you heard this one? In an effort to offset carbon

"Bottomfeeder" Preview

I have been reading an interesting book by Taras Grescoe who is the author of “Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.” For those of you who have read "The Omnivores Dilemma" by Micheal Pollan, and liked it, than this is a book I think you will enjoy. Grescoe's style is very readable and full of useful information. Whether you are an avid proponent of sustainable seafood, or a fan of the McDonalds Fillet O' Fish you will benefit from this good read. I was going to actually wait until I finished the entire book before I blogged about it here, but Grescoe wrote an op-ed piece in Monday's New York Times. The piece suggested that maybe we should just take a pass on salmon altogether, wild or farmed. Personally I will continue to limit my farmed salmon to fish from farms like Loch Duart, and my wild salmon to Alaskan fisheries. Like Grescoe I will not be having any Copper River fish this year as the cost is prohibitive, even at wholesale p…

Menhaden Update

One of my ongoing rants involves the menhaden fishery. This is by many accounts the largest fishery in the United States. It is in my opinion one of the most important in terms of environmental impact. Here is the wholesale removal of the most important food source for almost every kind of other fish up and down the east coast. In some online research I found that some of the most well opinionated and active people fighting to protect this fish are recreational stripe bass fishermen. Please visit the following sites to learn more, and to sign the petition.

http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/showthread.php?p=4868342

http://laterallineco.com/

Attention Dave Barry - Lobster Jail?

June 4, 2008- Animal-rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has submitted a bid to lease a vacant, rural Maine jail to establish the world's first Lobster Empathy Center. "A prison is the perfect setting to demonstrate how lobsters suffer when they are caught in traps or confined to cramped, filthy supermarket tanks," PETA wrote in a June 2 letter to Somerset County commissioners. The county is constructing a new prison and has put the century-old facility in Skowhegan up for sale. read morePETA, what is next a condo rented out for the sole use of cockroaches?

East Coast States Debate New Rules

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Teaser Post

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Attention New York Chefs:

Be the first to menu giant domestic crayfish 7-10 inches each. Contact the fishmonger to get in on the action. First responders will be eligible to receive sample next week.(this is a small one, stock photo)

World Ocean Day

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The Earth day for the seas is June 8th. Check out The Ocean Project for more information and be sure to sign the petition.

Shellfish Handling

It is the time of year now when increased outdoor temperatures, and the natural inclination to spawn are upon us. To help prevent unwanted mortality follow these helpful guidelines.


Keep shellfish refrigerated and buried in ice in a container that allows drainage.Proper refrigeration is important, but even more so during this time. Even moderate temperature abuse, or rough handling could cause your shellfish to spawn.Gaping shellfish can be run under cold water to get them to close, if they still do not close they are dead or dying and should be discarded.To prevent gaping , keep shellfish in a tightly closed mesh bag.Spawned product should be rinsed in fresh cold water and put into a clean container.Monitor these critical areas.

Loading docks, limit time and temperature abuse.Ship product in refrigerated trucks only.Hot kitchens can kill shellfish in no time, keep product iced and refrigerated at all times.ICE, ICE, ICE

Take extra care in all these areas and your shellfish will take …

Cooking Fish is Easy

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Why are you so afraid of seafood; it really could not be more simple. Just follow the CANADIAN RULE.


How to cook fish:
Here is a really simple and easy rule to follow and your fish will be cooked to perfection every time.
This will work for any method of cooking.
Use this rule for all species of fin fish.
The only requirement is that the heat source is as very hot. Now the secret; for each inch of thickness cook the fish 1o minutes.
That's it, now go cook some fish.