Weekly Fish Reports

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

Sharks, Salmon and Smarts

August 17, 2014

Shark Week has become an annual obsession with one of the planet’s most magnificent marine creatures. The quest for shark fin soup has caused a worldwide decimation of shark populations, and the large apex predators are threatened everywhere. With more than 270 species, some shark populations are thriving. MSC certified Atlantic Spiny Dogfish, a delicious flaky white fish that is underloved in the US but the favorite for fish and chips in the UK, was recently reported to be far more prevalent in the Gulf of Maine than previously thought. Conservation efforts are improving, and over the past 30 years the advent of the EPA and the Clean Water Act have had such a positive effect in the waters about NYC that local sightings of Great White Sharks and Humpback Whales have been in numbers not seen in more than a century.

Humpback Whale off the beach near Coney Island (photo:Artie Raslich/Gotham Whale)
Virginia Chef Sebastien Agez visited Cape Cod and sent us this photo of dogfish at the dock in Chatham, MA

North to Alaska, the world’s greatest salmon run exceeded expectations this year with over 82 million fish landed by the end of July, 10 million more than in 2013. The threat to Bristol Bay by the Pebble Mine still looms and our friends in the bay have asked all of their friends to speak out. In British Columbia, near the headwaters of the Fraser River salmon run, was built a much smaller open pit mine which, despite assurances of safety, had a serious accident earlier this month. The Mount Polley Mine’s tailings pond breach of five million cubic metres of contaminated waste was called a ‘massive environmental disaster’. The damage to the current sockeye run is still being gauged, not to mention the future of the spawning grounds.

Aerial view shows damage caused by tailings pond breach on Lake Polley, B.C. on August 5, 2014 (photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Bristol Bay Sockeye served by Chef Lonnie Zoeller at Vinoteca in Washington, DC

It is universally accepted that fish is good brain food, and a new study found that people who regularly eat fish have more voluminous brains than those who do not.  What we may not realize is that fish may be far more intelligent that formerly thought. This video has us scratching our heads.

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


FedExd Fish

August 10, 2014

As the world quickly evolves, long standing distribution models are becoming obsolete. People want a direct connection with the things they buy, and they want it fast.

When it comes to fish, nothing tastes better than the fish you caught yourself. Second best is to ride your bike down to the dock and buy a fish from a fisherman you know and trust. If neither of those options are readily available, working with Sea to Table is a pretty good alternative.

Levering the power and efficiency of third party logistics is creating value in many markets. When one is able to identify seafood from a trusted source, the challenge is getting it efficiently from the dock to your kitchen. No one is better at this than FedEx. When a chef wants fish that only swims in distant seas, the fish needs to travel by air to arrive in pristine condition. FedEx Express service is able to deliver a package overnight as efficiently as possible from point to point over great distances. If the fish you want is now swimming in waters less than about 300 miles from where you are, FedEx Next Day Ground system can have it in your kitchen tomorrow at the lowest carbon footprint and the lowest cost. And because our model removes so many links from the supply chain, we are able to both get a better price for the fisherman and deliver a truly superior product next day direct to your kitchen without a premium price.

Grahame Nicolson with Sockeye Salmon in Bristol Bay, AK
Kevin O'Malley with Fluke in Montauk, NY

Sustainability is a three legged stool.  It is not just about the fish, but also about the fishermen and the traditional fishing communities they support. By creating a more direct market we drive more value into those communities, and by shortening the supply chain we can deliver superior product to our chef partners on a neutral cost basis. This is a win-win situation that makes us proud.

All the best,
from the Dimins and the Sea to Table team


Underloved Fish

August 3, 2014

We all know that something is broken when 91% of all seafood consumed in the US comes from outside the US, and over two-thirds of all seafood we eat is shrimp, salmon, tilapia (almost all farm-raised under dubious conditions), or canned tuna.  Our vast oceans offer a cornucopia of species, and we only taste four.

The US, with its long coasts, has the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zone, with our protected ocean areas almost twice as large as our land mass. There are literally hundreds of different wild, sustainable, delicious fish swimming in American waters, yet we buy farmed fish from abroad.  There are underappreciated, underutilized species abundant at docks all around the country. Some call them trash fish, they’re anything but; they are simply underloved.

Everyone is becoming aware of the incredible health benefits of wild fish, and underloved fish may answer many problems. Because they do not have the market demand they cost less, but provide badly needed income to fishermen and the traditional fishing communities they support. Lower cost means better profit for chefs and restaurants, but the real secret about underloved fish is how delicious they are. When diners finally taste the diversity available next day from the dock, they are amazed.

F/V Stephanie Bryant on the dock at the Port of Galilee at Point Judith, RI
Amberjack ceviche from Sal's Tomato Pies in Sun Prarie, WI

While New England cod have fled to colder Greenland waters, their close cousin Atlantic Pollock substitutes perfectly in flaky white fish recipes. Gulf of Maine redfish used to be used as lobster bait, and now is a healthy, delicious, cost-effective replacement for tilapia. Atlantic spiny dogfish used to be almost entirely exported to Europe for fish and chips, and now is a low cost MSC-certified species that constantly surprise chefs on their versatility and great taste. Blue Channel catfish have invaded the Chesapeake Bay in vast numbers, and have only recently been discovered to be excellent eating. Jacks and mullet have long been appreciated around the Gulf of Mexico, are now finding their way into kitchens around the country. California sardines have made a great comeback, and are a treat full of omega fatty acids. Wild Alaska Salmon consist of five distinct species, with Keta and Pinks having all the benefits of the others at a much lower price point.

Chefs are the gatekeepers. They need to exert their influence. Underloved species create great value for both fishermen and chefs. We need to spread the love.

All the best,
from the Dimins and the Sea to Table team

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