Thursday, January 29, 2009

IT AINT LIKE IT USED TO BE

From a New York fishmongers perspective, how things have changed. Since it has been nearly two months since my last musings here so much has happened.

The market for seafood has gotten quite dismal with the wholesalers at the New Fulton Market in Hunts Point reduced to working on nickels and dimes when they can. Many companies have put crews on 4 day schedules, and games of cards and the occasional chess match fill the empty late night hours for lack of buyers. Not a day seems to go by that I here of fish being sold at ridiculously low prices, just so companies can avoid an outright loss. Many fish like Halibut have simply become too expensive an option for most, and restaurants have removed them from their menus. Back in favor Atlantic Salmon (a particularly great bargain with the ISA issues in Chile), tilapia, catfish, and skate.

We are most of the way through Restaurant week here in the city (Restaurant Week is actually two weeks, many establishments are even extending it further.) and it helped inject a small amount of capital into the system.

So the economy has affected the seafood industry in many ways from my point of view. The multimillion dollar Poseidon Seafood based in North Carolina shuddered operations without notice, and creditors will likely be in courts years to capture back some losses. How all this will play out for seafood sustainability remains a huge "X" factor. After all, people's values seem to change in response to the environment. With price becoming a major force. Thankfully most of the fish that are on the avoid list because of sustainability issues are also high priced. Of course this is not always the case because many of the problems faced today are because of the economies of scale and the effects of huge corporate draggers. The boutique fisherman are likely to struggle if they cannot find a market close to home.

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