Weekly Fish Reports

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


Bristol Bay Bonanza

July 20, 2014

It has been an eventful year in the pristine expanses of Bristol Bay, Alaska. The threat of Pebble Mine constructing the world’s largest open pit mine in the headwaters of the world’s greatest wild salmon run seems to have greatly diminished. Thousands of native and commercial fishermen have breathed a tentative sigh of relief. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game predicted a well below average sockeye season, but Mother Nature had other ideas, and as the season now draws to an close it looks like a bumper harvest with more than 40 million fish returning, almost 50% above expectations.

Cousins Reid Ten Kley and Christopher Nicholson are now packing up their set net camp at Graveyard Point on land that their grandfather homesteaded in the 1940s. It is at the mouth of the Naknek River one of the most productive sockeye grounds on the bay. Just 5 miles upstream is a state of the art blast freezing and processing facility where their fish arrive still flopping. Here they are filleted, IQF frozen and packed onto freezer barges for the long trip to Seattle, where Sea to Table packs them into boxes and sends them via truck and train to cold storage facilities across the country. From there spectacular sockeye salmon delivers year-round via the lowest carbon footprint and lower cost of FedEx’s next day ground system.

Sockeye Salmon Swirl
Reid Ten Kley, Christopher Nicholson, and Eike Ten Kley at Graveyard Point


One of those cold storages is located in Denver, CO near to the home of Executive Chef Kyle Mendenhall of The Kitchen Community. We hooked our friend Kyle up with our friends at the BBRSDA for a week long tour of Bristol Bay’s traditional fishing communities. On Thursday Kyle, reporting to be having “the time of his life”, arrived in Graveyard Point to party with our friends Christopher and Reid, and to commune with the sockeye that he serves guests in all six of his acclaimed restaurants. Sounds like a fun trip.
 

Kyle Mendenhall and Chris Nicholson
Kyle catches a Chinook

Back in the lower 48, fishing has been heating up everywhere. From where it is harvested to where it is consumed, fish often travels a long, opaque, convoluted and broken road, losing connection to the source and losing value for both fishermen and chefs. Our friend Paul Greenberg speaks eloquently on this subject in his new book 'American Catch'. Just getting our fishermen’s catch from more than 30 docks to more than 1000 kitchens is a serious logistical challenge. We are very glad to have developed some excellent technology to help, and are most proud on working to improve America’s seafood supply chain.

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


 

Montauk in Milwaukee

July 13, 2014

Bob and Mary Gosman opened Gosman’s Dock in 1943 Montauk, NY, on the tip of Long Island, just 100 miles east of NYC but worlds apart. With easy access from Block Island Sound to the Hudson Canyon, fishermen there enjoy some of the most fertile grounds on the east coast.

In a 1985 interview Mary Gosman said “We were pioneers in those days. I remember working out in the market in my housedress nailing fish crates together. At 15 my boy Emmet was moving 600 pounds of fish around. I remember once when one of the worst boat crews I ever saw came in reeking of stale gin and unwashed bodies, I said to my helper ‘Are we so poor we have to do this for a living?’”

F/V Sahara Captain George Miller of Montauk
F/V Sahara Dust landing at Gosman's Dock


Today Bob and Mary’s grandsons, cousins Bryan and Asa Gosman, run the dock where on some days we land more than a dozen species. Times have changed, but one thing that remains is the awesome quality of fish there.

 

Harbor House Chef Zach with Montauk Striped Bass
Wild striped bass, saffron broth, roasted peppers, chorizo, button clams

Last Thursday Sea to Table’s Sean Dimin and Lindsay Haas visited Madison, WI where they broke bread with more than a dozen of that city’s best chefs. Madison’s reputation as a fast emerging food scene continues to grow and we are proud to be part of it. Lindsay continued on Friday to Milwaukee where on the lakeside Harbor House chef Zachary Espinosa has been delighting his guests with beautiful Montauk fish. Making these connections is what makes our job worthwhile.

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


 

Fireworks

July 6, 2014

Captain Pat Bennet’s F/V Teeha Marie fishes the warm Gulf of Mexico waters off Tarpon Springs, FL.  He and his crew selectively spearfish various snapper and grouper species in what might be the most environmentally responsible way possible. All his fish are meticulously bled and iced at sea, and our chefs who have enjoyed working with them have been unanimous in praising their quality and freshness. We love opening better markets for these fine fishermen.

Two chefs who have enjoyed Pat’s fish are Jonathon Stranger and Russ Johnson of Ludivine in Oklahoma City. These guys are leading a burgeoning OKC food scene where this week they hosted a sold-out sustainable seafood dinner. Sea to Table’s own Travis Riggs was in on the festivities where they did a great job pairing wines with unusual fish like dogfish, monk liver, golden tilefish, and sardines spines. Word was that Oklahoma folks used to burning steaks were wowed.

Teeha Marie crewmember 'DJ' with beautiful string of fish
Ludivine sustainable seafood dinner in cattle country

NJ fisherman Steve Clark, helping the National Oceanic and Atmopsheric Administration (NOAA) tag sharks as part of the Apex Predator Program, almost bit off more than he could chew last week. Clark was chumming for mako sharks near 28-Mile Wreck, a World War II shipwreck off the Cape May Coast when a Great White showed up and tried to take a bite out of one of the 35-foot boat's engines. The Great White swam around the boat for about 20 minutes as crew members videoed.

And in the spirit of NJ’s Tim Howard and his team's great World Cup run, happy July 4th weekend to all.

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


 
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