Weekly Fish Reports

Sea to Table's Weekly Fish Report provides weekly information on landings and species availability from each of our partner fisheries.

Real Fishy Business

August 31, 2015

Major seafood suppliers and distributors are under siege worldwide for practices that range from unthinkable to merely greedy. Government investigations and lawsuits are under way against such giants as Nestle, Costco, and the packers of Bumble Bee Tuna.

Costco has been accused of knowingly selling shrimp harvested by slave labor in Thailand. “Human suffering cannot be ignored to enhance a company’s economic bottom line,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Niall McCarthy said. “California consumers are unknowingly supporting slave labor.” A lawsuit filed in Federal District court in Los Angeles accuses Nestle of knowing purchasing illegally caught fish harvested and processed by both slave and child labor. “Nestle is presently not able to trace the fish that it imports back to the fishing boats that source it, much less ensure that the fish is not the product of slave labor. And meanwhile Nestle continues to profit from the slave labor that supplies its fish. This is shameful,” documents state. Nestle’s supplier, Thai Union, also the packer of Chicken of the Sea tuna, is currently in negotiations to merge with Bumble Bee tuna.  The US Justice Department is currently investigating the anti-trust aspects of that merger. “Even before the proposed merger, these two companies were cooperating closely. These interlocking relationships provided an excellent opportunity to collude on pricing,” the complaint in the lawsuit states. Last month Bumble Bee agreed to a $6,000,000 settlement over criminal charges for the death of a worker cooked in a tuna oven.

Know where your seafood comes from.

At this fishery in Phuket, Thailand, many Burmese laborers work in slave like conditions; many of the workers are illegal immigrants including younger workers from 9 years of age. 
Photographer: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket 

Chef de Cuisine Becky Gabriele from Crew Restaurant with Lingcod arriving on Friday in Poughkeepsie, NY from Neah Bay, WA. Our Maria de la Motte talked to Chef/Owner Tom Kacherski and said "the special is selling like hotcakes".

Thankfully the US appears to be heading the international community in a better direction in managing fisheries. As the arctic melts and Russia tries to stake claim to arctic resources, NOAA fisheries is delivering World Class Science. And the Protecting the Honest Fisherman Act was introduced in Congress last month. Hope springs eternal.

Sea to Table is most excited to be working with more west coast fisheries. Our newest team member, Ren Ostry, is based in Los Angeles, and will be working on connecting west coast chefs with both local fish and seafood from all around the country. Californians need to know who caught their fish too.

All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team


We're in salmon to stay

August 25, 2015

In a move that seems destined to progress aquaculture along the same path as factory farm meat production, the nation’s largest privately held company, agribusiness giant Cargill, has agreed to purchase Norwegian-based EWOS, one of the world’s largest suppliers of feed and nutrition for farmed fish. The $1.5 billion deal signals Cargill’s entry into salmon and trout markets and is the company’s second aquaculture deal in the past two months. To justify its long range strategy it will most likely seek out vertical integration, including more salmon farms. Cargill will now be in the feed business for both fish and animal feed, with no proper distinctions between what goes where.

Cargill’s top exec was quoted as saying “We’re in salmon to stay”. Last year Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest trading house, agreed to buy the Norwegian fishery Cermaq ASA for $1.4 billion to expand its foods business and become the world’s second-largest salmon farmer. Does not sound like good news for fishermen, diners, or fish.

Chilipepper Rockfish and Petrale Sole landing at the dock in Morro Bay on California's Central Coast

S2T's Philip Dimin, Daniel Del Coro, and Maria de la Motte inspecting Golden Tilefish at Gosman's Dock in Montauk, NY

As mega-deals heat up, so does the ocean. It is almost certain 2015 will be the hottest year recorded, scientists have said after it was revealed that July 2015 was the Earth's warmest month on record. The lobster population has crashed to the lowest levels on record in southern New England while climbing to heights never before seen in the cold waters off Maine and other northern reaches — a geographic shift that scientists attribute in large part to the warming of the ocean. The trend is driving lobstermen in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island out of business, ending a centuries-old way of life.

Beautiful, wild sockeye salmon landed near Naknek on Alaska's Bristol Bay being served at The Kitchen in Boulder, CO

Forequarter, part of the Madison, WI Underground Food Collective Yum-Yum Fest, serving Whitefish landed at Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Sea to Table is proud to have been re-certified as a B Corporation. This movement continues to grow rapidly as more people realize that companies can do good and do well at the same time.

On Friday National Sales Manager Daniel Del Coro was joined by Northeast rep Maria de la Motte, Los Angeles rep Ren Ostry, and NYC based rep Philip Dimin on a Sea to Table field trip to the dock in Montauk, NY. There they met with cousins Asa and Bryan Gosman, as well as master cutter Kleber Sanmartin and his crew. They watched beautiful swordfish, tuna, and golden tilefish land, and marveled at the great knife skills at the dock. The view of Montauk harbor wasn’t bad either. Meanwhile Midwest rep Lindsay Haas was in Madison, WI for Yum-Yum Fest, and reported on some great folks feasting on some great fish prepared by some great chefs.

Enjoy the beautiful summer.

All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team


Happy Dogfish

August 18, 2015

The Huffington Post published an interesting piece on Atlantic Spiny Dogfish in the Gulf of Maine last week featuring none other than our own Sean Dimin. The Gulf of Maine is rising in temperature at an alarming rate, and as cod seek the colder waters off Greenland, dogfish populations are exploding. James Sulikowski, a biologist with the University of New England who studies the species, said there are 230,000 metric tons of spawning dogfish – females of reproductive age – in the Gulf of Maine (a nearly fivefold increase from 10 years ago), compared with only 10,000 metric tons of spawning cod. That’s a 23-to-1 ratio.

Northeast fishermen say they can’t drop a hook in the water without hitting a dogfish in the head. Mike Breton is a commercial fisherman from southern Maine with more than 30 years in the industry. "When we fish for tuna, we use live bait, or a chunk of bait, put that bait anywhere from 80 feet down in the water column, down to 200 feet, and over last several years our baits have been taken by the dogfish, so it was almost impossible to fish for tunas with that method," he says.

Sean Dimin and Tommy the Dogfishermen in Portland, Maine

Captain John Tuttle with Atlantic Spiny Dogfish on the F/V Cuda out of Chatham, MA on Cape Cod

MSC certified Dogfish is a mild, meaty white fish and quite delicious. It is the primary source for fish and chips in the UK, but the domestic market is tiny. Market prices are so low that fishermen can’t afford to fish them. Some very smart restaurateurs are realizing some real potential here. Michael Chernow, founder of NYC’s Meatball Shops, has a new hit on his hands with Seamore’s, a Lower East Side sensation exclusively serving underloved species. Dogfish tacos is a top seller. We would like to see more dogfish making more fishermen and more diners more happy.

Dogfish Tacos

Maidera Beach, FL Black Grouper arrives at Mas Tapas in Charlottesville, VA

When we think of Gulf of Mexico fish, we think grouper and snapper.  They are magnificent fish, but there is an abundant and underloved species swimming throughout our southern waters. Mullet roe is famous for bottarga, but mullet are delicious fresh out of the water, and look to see them on menus in many smart restaurants this fall and winter.

Octopus continue to amaze those who study them. A just published paper shows Pacific Striped Octopus engaged in beak to beak mating. Just looking at some octopus is remarkable. But National Geograhic’s review of Sy Montgomery’s Soul of an Octopus, and their video of an octopus photographing school kids is off the charts.

As summer and salmon season begins to wind down, this video of Pink Salmon in Starrigavan Creek in Southeast Alaska reminds us of the beauty that surrounds us.

All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team

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