Weekly Fish Reports

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


Seafood Slavery

March 29, 2015

Next time you are in the grocery store and you see a can of tuna on sale for $1.29, consider the concept of  a fisherman receiving nothing for his work, and the tuna being harvested with a wanton disregard for the health of the fish stock. The problems with worldwide tuna management are long standing and well known, but the revelation that Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, and Sysco are selling tuna from fishing vessels manned by slave labor is a shocking story that exploded internationally this week.

These are not isolated incidents. We have spoken before of such horrors, but maybe a wave of public awareness can begin to make a difference. Vice reported this week on rampant slavery on Burmese shrimp farms. The NY Times Roger Cohen described conditions on catfish farms in Vietnam. A very concerning story has emerged about krill, the small crustacean that supports the entire food chain of the Southern Oceans being used for fish farm feed.  China currently harvests about 32,000 metric tons of krill annually from Antarctica’s waters, topped only by Norway and South Korea. Under China’s plans, detailed in the state-run China Daily, the world’s most populous country would increase those catches 30 to 60 times, harvesting up to 2 million metric tons yearly.

As countries around the globe begin to realize that healthy sustainable wild fisheries are to the advantage of all people and governments, we may be able to start to see international cooperation. Maybe we could be reaching a tipping point where a spotlight on these issues could begin real change.

Bun Lai's unique invasive species sushi
Ipswich Razor Clams from Cape Cod at Vermont's Duo Restaurant, prepared by Chef Andrew Hunter with preserved lemon and bacon.
 

Our most creative friend Chef Bun Lai highlighted the Feeding the Future event at Connecticut College serving sushi made from Wild Silver Salmon from Sitka, AK and invasive Wild Blue Catfish from the Chesapeake. And this week students at Bard College in NY’s Hudson Valley feasted on Acadian Redfish tacos. Now if springtime would only come……….

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


 

Recognizing Underloved Fish

March 22, 2015

When it sometimes feels like you are whistling into the wind, it is reassuring when the wider world reflects back at you. We speak often of “underloved fish”, but our voices become louder when the Wall Street Journal tells the story. It seems that a growing audience is beginning to realize that there are more than four species of fish in the sea.

University of Washington fisheries professor Ray Hilborn wrote this week about the ‘rising tide of America’s sustainable seafood’, celebrating the success of America’s fishery management, and speaking optimistically for the future. Lesser known species are finding their way to home chefs, as with our excellent partners at Plated, as reported by Bloomberg Business. Progressive and fast growing restaurant groups like our excellent partners at the Colorado based The Kitchen are introducing low cost, abundant, sustainable and delicious fish to diners around the country. And Sea to Table was recognized this week by our software partner NetSuite, a key reason we can deliver fish landed today to your kitchen tomorrow from 38 different docks to over 1000 chefs in 46 states.

We believe sustainable seafood means more than just healthy fish stocks; it is a three legged stool. Not only do we need to protect our valuable natural resource, we need to support the fishermen that harvest it and the traditional communities they support by creating a better market for their catch. This creates a win for everyone.

Sea to Table's Sean Dimin at the Boston Seafood Show meeting with Cape Cod fishermen about developing better markets for abundant, delicious, and low cost Atlantic Spiny Dogfish
Chef Patrick at Oliver's Public House in Madison, WI serves Cape Cod scallops, Wild Gulf shrimp, grits, roasted mushrooms, house cured bacon, diced potato, in a weissbier reduction.
 

Unfortunately fisheries around the globe are not trending as well. In the Southern Oceans illegal pirate fishing runs rampant. A boat snared poaching was detained after docking in Thailand with 180 tons of Antarctic toothfish. The F/V Kunlun arrived in Phuket on Monday and attempted to offload what it claimed was grouper. Previously registered to Equatorial Guinea, it was falsely reflagged as an Indonesian vessel and renamed F/V Taichan.  This week in the Huffington Post, there is a call for using better transparency in the seafood supply chain to fight rampant human trafficking; Ending Seafood Slavery: How Tracing Seafood Can Protect Humans, Too.

We think lots of good things happen when people eatbetterfish.

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


 

Old School, New School

March 16, 2015

The Sea to Table team took a field trip this weekend to the venerable Boston International Seafood Show to see how the old school supply chain worked. We think it is all about the fishermen and the fish, but our team discovered it is about the long, opaque supply chain machine that delivers it to the market.

It is easy to see why over 90% of all seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from outside the U.S., where green-washing is everywhere and everything is sustainable. Massive industrial players comb the world’s seas with factory ships like agribusiness factory farms. Once the fish have been captured they enter the long supply chain, unable to be traced through the system. Fresh fish lose their identity on their week long journey to the plate.

One good move in Boston was that the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud released its action plan. They reported “IUU fishing undercuts fair competition and leads to global losses between $10 and $23 billion each year. These pirate fishers often violate even the most basic safety requirements, such as using navigation lights at night, putting law-abiding mariners at risk. And their ships serve as conduits for other dangerous criminal activities, including human trafficking. Black-market fishing seafood fraud allows black market fish to enter U.S. commerce, deceiving American consumers about the quality, quantity, origin, and sustainability of the food they eat.” This is a BFD.

The Sea to Table team at the Boston Seafood Show.
Saturday's Sea to Table dinner by some of the very talented chefs of the burgeoning Madison, Wisconsin food scene

One key element conspicuously absent at the seafood show was fishermen. As our friend Barton Seaver says “Without fishermen there is no seafood.” We think that fishermen and the traditional fishing communities they support are worthy of our support, and we can do that by enjoying the fruits of their labor next day direct from the dock.

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


 
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