Weekly Fish Reports

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

Working towards a better food system

February 22, 2015

As the Siberian Express shivers half the country, Sea to Table aspires to improve the seafood supply chain. By removing multiple links from the chain, we create a transparent model allowing a chef to shop for his fish right at the dock, to know the who, what, and where of the catch. This not only brings more value to diners, but better prices for fishermen and for the traditional fishing communities they serve, and ultimately to better health for wild fish, a treasured resource that sustains us all.

This week we received an anonymous question about the accuracy of our landing information. We now ship directly from more than 30 docks in coastal communities around the U.S., and work diligently to always provide accurate info. Fishing boats listed on our website are the anticipated landing vessel communicated to us by our docks. Often more than one boat will land the same species at the same dock and creating systems to sort through this information can be an arduous task, but we think it important.  When possible, each invoice lists the actual landing vessel. Our systems are yet perfect, but each day we work hard to be a part of a better food system.

There was a comment about boats not actually landing in Montauk, NY due to ice, and we asked Montauk dock manager, Klever San Martin, to photograph the open channel and the boats landing (below).  Many of Montauk's tuna boats travel south during the coldest months, chasing fish down the Gulf Stream, landing tuna as far away as North Carolina. With a large enough catch they will often unload there. The tuna will truck north, and ship from Montauk, the boat's home dock, in search of a better market. Only one tuna boat, the F/V Alexandria Dawn, actually off loaded in Montauk last week.

Shot this week from the roof of the fishouse at the dock with the wind-chill below zero, ice cleared from the channel at the mouth of Montauk Harbor

Montauk's Klever San Martin fillets striped bass as Sean Dimin watches Kevin O'Malley fillet fluke last fall

A recent vessel/fishing method across species from Montauk was a display failure on our website and not meant to be misleading.  In addition to the tuna landed in Montauk was drag-caught Fluke from the F/V Mister C and Golden Tilefish caught by bottom long-lines on the F/V Sea Capture under Capt John Nolan Jr.  We believe our work is important and do not get bashful when called out for inaccuracies.  Feedback and scrutiny helps us improve.

Unfortunately only a small percentage of the market is sufficiently concerned with responsible seafood, and with the fishermen and communities that harvest them.  But the numbers are growing, often due to the efforts of the sustainable seafood community.  We need to support one another to the betterment of all.

We work hard at and are proud of what we do.

And we will always try to get better.

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


Technology fights IUU Fishing and Fish Fraud

February 15, 2015

It is widely accepted that wild fish is the healthiest protein we eat. In his new book 'The Perfect Protein', Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless writes that we can protect this food source and feed our growing population for years to come, if only we manage our fisheries better.

Sharpless sees hope, and predicts that with international cooperation, we could see total world catch increase by up to 40% within a decade. “One of the wonderful things about fish is they are an incredibly powerful and robust part of nature,” he says. “If we will give them a little bit of room, they will rebound.”

U.S. wild fisheries management is a world leader. “Protecting our country’s reputation as a leader in sustainable fishing is at the heart of the President’s efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud around the world,” said NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. Some interesting new technologies are aiding the efforts. Satellites are now tracking fishing vessels in international waters, using advance techniques to identify patterns of IUU fishing. IUU fish constitute a large percentage of fish imported into the U.S., whose identity is quickly lost in our long, convoluted, and opaque seafood supply chain. This allows for a system rife with seafood fraud.

Winterized parsnip cooked in butter, skate wing, fermented cabbage juice, mushroom, crispy parsnip skins, toasted buttermilk

Captain John Bahrt's son and first mate Erick Bahrt on the stern of the F/V Kristina heading out to pull spot prawn traps from Sitka, Alaska

Even when fish dealers are not intentionally misidentifying species, if you do not have a direct connection to the dock it is often difficult to know what is really in the box. To combat this, another new technology is emerging. University of South Florida scientists have now made a handheld device that could help fight fish fraud. The instrument genetically verifies whether fish being called grouper is really grouper or less expensive, potentially harmful substitutes like imported farm raised swai. A quarter of grouper sold in the United States is mislabeled, according to Oceana, making it the fourth most commonly mislabeled fish in the country. (Snapper was number one)

Our Virginia chef friend Tarver King of Patowmack Farms always wants to know where his seafood comes from. This week he took some winter skate landed in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod to create a seasonally inspired dish pictured above. Stay warm.

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


Redfish for Valentines

February 8, 2015

Everyone knows that seafood is for lovers, and red is the color of love. This week couples will likely find themselves dining on fish that never swam in our waters. Over 90% of all seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from outside the U.S., the largest portion of it shrimp, with imports in 2014 increasing 12% to 1.25 billion pounds. We think chefs might do well to offer diners wild American shrimp, and other healthy, sustainable, and delicious lower cost choices from domestic fisheries.

An excellent Valentine’s Day option is Acadian redfish. Traditionally redfish had so little value that Maine lobstermen used them for bait. Chefs have begun noticing that when filleted, redfish appear much like tilapia. They are both well priced, with the only real difference being that Acadian redfish is sustainably wild harvested, healthy to eat, and tastes great, as opposed to farm-raised, antibiotic-infused, imported tilapia.

Redfish abundance in the Gulf of Maine is assured by the Northeast Multispecies Management plan. With Atlantic Cod populations fleeing the warming Gulf of Maine waters and quotas being slashed, Acadian redfish can now provide income to fishermen like Portland’s Terry Alexander of the F/V Jocka. Redfish is a firm, white-fleshed fish that is a winner for the fishery and the fishermen, chef and diner alike.

Iced Acadian Redfish at the dock.
F/V American Heritage at the wharf in Portland, ME.

Driven by positive sales and traffic and an uptick in capital expenditures, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) finished 2014 with a solid gain. The industry is predicting an even better 2015. Eli Feldman wrote a provocative article Why the Restaurant Industry is the Most Important Industry in Today’s America . He proposes that restaurant industry is unique in a globalized world The industry impacts nearly 10%, or $1.6 Trillion, of the entire U.S. GDP. As the food system evolves and we see the Cultural Shift to Higher Quality Food, chefs need to be mindful of their leadership position in the process. In support of wild fisheries, fishermen and the traditional fishing communities they support, we ask chefs everywhere to join us in getting diners to eatbetterfish.

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

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