Monday, April 27, 2009

Egg Laying Male Fish

A Researcher at Ohio State University has claimed to develop an egg laying male fish. That strikes me as wrong. I am all for advances in aquaculture, but this one I do not think will sit well with the public.

From UPI

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aquaculture Efficiencies

It is estimated that in the near future (some put the date at 2050) our oceans will no longer be able to support the growing seafood demand. In order to keep pace with demand fish farming (aquaculture) production is sure to increase. Now despite all the bad publicity that fish like farmed salmon receive, there are aquaculture operations that are on the cutting edge of sustainability. One in particular is Kona Blue Water Farms, where they raise Kona Kamapchi (Seriola rivoliana) a fish that would be known as Almaco Jack or kahala in the wild. I recently read a report they released that shows that the feed efficiency for farmed fish may in fact surpass wild fish. While the jury is still out because the report is subjective, I applaud the effort. Kona Blue is indeed doing the right thing and have received a lot of attention for the high level of stewardship they exhibit. What follows is the press release.

Kona Kampachi® - 60 Times Less Impact on Stocks than Wild-Caught Fish

Sustainable Aquaculture Can Meet Growing Demand Amid Depleted Fish Stocks

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii —Kona Blue Water Farms released an analysis that demonstrates sustainably maricultured fish actually have 60 times less ecological footprint on the ocean than wild-caught fish. Kona Blue’s analysis supports the recent recommendation from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that called for an increase in fish farming amid falling wild populations and increasing fisheries closures, such as west coast rockfish, Gulf grouper, and the impending restrictions on red snapper.

“If we examine the true environmental cost of wild-caught predatory fish -- such as swordfish or tuna -- we find sustainably maricultured fish have some 60 times less impact on fish stocks at the base of the food chain, such as sardines and anchovies,” said Neil Anthony Sims, President of Kona Blue. The leading offshore mariculture operation in the U.S., Kona Blue raises sashimi-grade Kona Kampachi®, a Hawaiian yellowtail, off the coast of Hawaii.

“What would ocean-conscious consumers rather have on their plates?” asked Sims. “One pound of Kona Kampachi®, or one sixtieth of a pound of tuna? The impact on the oceans is about the same.”

Sims bases this estimate on three primary considerations. First, aquaculture is continually moving towards sustainable substitutes in farmed fish diets to lessen reliance on fishmeal and fish oil. Kona Blue’s current feed formulation includes only 35% fishmeal/fish oil from wild baitfish, of which approximately 3% is from capture fishery by-product. Contrary to outdated ratios of 5:1 or higher quoted by some environmental groups, the current ratio of “wild fish in to farmed fish out” has fallen to approximately 1.5:1 (1.5 lbs. of anchovies producing 1 lb. of sashimi-grade farmed fish).

By contrast, wild fish are subject to the laws of trophic transfer, where only 10% of their prey’s food value is transferred up each step of the food chain. “If a tuna eats a mackerel that earlier ate an anchovy, then there are two trophic steps, compounding the costs,” said Sims. “A tuna may therefore need to eat the equivalent of 100 pounds of baitfish to increase its weight by one pound.” As the fishmeal/fish oil for farmed fish feed involves only one efficient step, trophic transfer loss is minimized.

Secondly, Sims points out that farmed fish have a life cycle that is estimated to be three to ten times more efficient than wild predatory fish, since they are harvested at a young age, after their most efficient growth, and do not expend energy reproducing or competing to survive in the wild.

The last consideration is by-catch, or those unwanted fish caught by commercial fisheries that are discarded as unsaleable, undersized, or over quota. Some fisheries generate up to eleven pounds of by-catch for every pound that is retained. Experts estimate that almost 30% of the global wild harvest is discarded. Farmed fish have no by-catch, as only fish in the pens are harvested, and the schools of baitfish that go into fish feed rarely have any extraneous “take.”

“With these considerations,” said Sims, “we’ve estimated that one pound of our farmed Kona Kampachi® requires an environmental input of close to one pound of anchovies. A one pound serving of wild-caught tuna, however, would require around 60 pounds of baitfish.”

Sims asserted that responsible open ocean mariculture is a key solution to the depletion of ocean resources, but cautioned, “We still need to ensure rational, effective management of baitfish resources, and take into account ecosystem impacts.”

The entire analysis can be downloaded at

Photo courtesy Kona Blue Water Farms.

MJ's Market Report

We have a must read list today, its time to get excited about fish again!
Wild King Salmon are coming tonight from the Columbia river, we have only 8 Red Kings available and 2 Ivory Kings, the fish have been Large and Immaculate, get to us soon to lock in your fish
Scallops, fresh, with roe attached are in house and beautiful. They are u-12 size and very limited
Razor clams are coming tonight over the road from Maine
Crayfish are on their way from the West Coast
John Dory is in house and looking spectacular
Corvina is in, the fish are large and h&g and very inexpensive
The Black Cod is fresh and the fish average around 7lbs h&g
Live Dungeness are available, the Blackfish is still in rigor, and New Zealand Green Lip Mussels will be in for tommorrow
Price drops; Monkfish is way down, Lobster prices are dropping, Wild Stp Bass prices are falling, Tile Fish Plummeted, and Halibut is a STEAL!!! The Halibut is coming from the West Coast ane East and both fish are arriving pristine!
Rouget and Grouper are good bets and the Fluke is just plain Spectacular
Softshell Crabs will be a PROBLEM tommorrow, nothing showed up today in the market due to weather issues down south
Our Icelandic Day Boat Cod is coming tonight and the fishery is back on track. Domestic Cod is running only dragged stuff right now so our Day Boat will be the best of what 's around.
"The worst thing is to get involved with people who aren't passionate about what they're doing." - Willem Dafoe

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

Today is Earth day.
The Earth is composed of mostly water.
Therefore today should be mostly about water.

I hope you do not mind my philosophical stretch. But how can you blame me since the fishmonger must be focused on the seas and such? Let us not make light of today's significance, even though I may not agree with many that take a particular extreme view of today's environmental issues, PETA for one. I for one enjoy eating seafood, and I am especially invested in the seafood industry for my livelihood. I just believe that protection does not exclusively rule out enjoyment. If you are a first time visitor please take a moment to look around. I hope that you enjoy my musings and smattering's of actual information. I welcome, actually I encourage your comments and questions be they friendly or otherwise. Actually I hope to expand the content here with additional authors, so stay tuned. And happy Water, eh.. Earth Day.

Packard funded study proposes establishing ocean zones for ecosystem management

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [ASCRIBE NEWS via COMTEX] - April 21, 2009 - SANTA BARBARA, Calif., A major shift in ocean policy is strongly urged by a team of scientists who are calling for comprehensive, national, ecosystem-based ocean zoning for the United States.

Newly emerging data on the combined effects of multiple human stressors on marine ecosystems are now available to support this shift in policy, the scientists say.

The work, published in the Spring 2009 issue of the journal Issues in Science and Technology, was conducted at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, with support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Despite increasing emphasis in recent legislation on the cumulative effects of human activities, 'the oceans are still largely managed one species, sector, or issue at a time,' says Carrie V. Kappel, the lead author. Some promising new initiatives do take an integrated approach, but these tend to be small in scale and isolated from each other.

The authors argue for a comprehensive, coordinated management system, based on the concept of ocean zoning. Co-author Ben Halpern explains that 'zoning is commonplace on land - we zone for business, schools, residences, and natural space - but this has largely been done piecemeal and reactively. In the oceans, we have a great opportunity to zone for human uses in a comprehensive, pro-active manner.' Designating marine zones for different uses would separate incompatible activities, reduce conflicts, and protect vulnerable ecosystems, the authors say.

This approach, however, requires comprehensive data on the cumulative effects of the full suite of human uses of the oceans, which until now has not been available. But recently emerging tools are changing the picture. The authors describe the advent of a robust new tool, called a cumulative impact map, that can provide the kinds of information needed to optimize zoning for coordinated ocean conservation and use. Co-author Kim Selkoe explains how 'the maps synthesize large amounts of data on the ecological impacts of all human uses of the oceans, providing the big picture on the health of the oceans and revealing which areas are impacted by which human uses.'

The policy proposal, enhanced by the availability of new scientific tools, is timely. The West Coast Governors' Agreement on Ocean Health - signed by the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington in 2006 - underscores the importance of managing human impacts on an ecosystem basis. The agreement is facilitating a move toward coordinated, proactive, regional collaboration for the management of human uses of the waters off the three states.

'Our science has shown that everywhere you look, the oceans are affected by a multitude of human activities,' says Kappel. 'Increasingly, we're seeing conflicts among users of the marine environment and negative effects of both land-based and marine activities. The policy implication is that we need comprehensive ecosystem-based ocean zoning. West Coast managers and policymakers could become leaders in developing ways to do just that.'

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Accepting the Challenges of Sustainable Seafood

I am always glad to see seafood sustainability in the public realm. I was inspired by this recent New York Times editorial.Like many issues today there is, as the author points out, a lot of confusion and bad information being bantered about.
There is unfortunately a perception that farmed is bad (sometimes true) and that wild caught is better (not always the case).
I am a fishmonger in New York and even some of the most savvy chefs are just starting to address this issue.
Much of the problem of seafood sustainability I think is the general disconnect that the American consumer has developed with food. When I try to sell some sustainable species like mackerel (a small oily and relatively abundant fish) I hear that people do not like it. The truth might be that they won't try it.
My advice:
1. Get a seafood guide for your local. Blue Ocean Institute is great for the Northeast. Monterey Bay is better if you live near the Pacific.
2.Get to know your fishmonger. Ask lots of questions.
3. Use the above sources to develop a short list of Sustainable choices.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Weather really beat down the landings this weekend, high winds spell no fish
Jumbo Soft shell prices are coming down, still no primes available
Live Crayfish are on a plane for tonight delivery, Razor Clams are in house, and Pike is coming from upstate
Mahi Mahi prices are dropping again as fish becomes abundant, The Black Cod is fresh and wild, and The Tasmanian Ocean Trout is coming tonight
We will have New Zealand Pink Snappers tomorrow, the fish should be sushi quality and 2-3lb size
West Coast and East Coast Halibut is available this week with mixed sizes up for grabs
Spanish and Boston Mackerel are available for tomorrow, both are looking fantastic
Fluke prices are jumping, as well as Wild Stripe Bass, the price should stabilize for the week on Bass but we don't see it coming down
Tuna and Swordfish are going up this week as quality fish become hard to find
Char is still an ongoing problem for this week, as large fish are spotty
Fluke and Sole and most other flatfish are going to be problematic going forward. They are cutting quotas. Expect very high prices into the summer