Weekly Fish Reports

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


Gotta Change Our Ways

January 18, 2015

A major study by a team of scientists published this week in the journal Science declares that unless humans change their behaviors, the oceans are on the verge of unprecedented damage
 
“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said UCSB’s Douglas McCauley in a week where we also discovered that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. “We’re lucky in many ways,” said Rutger’s marine biologist Malin Pinsky. “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.”
 
“I fervently believe that our best partner in saving the ocean is the ocean itself,” said Stephen Palumbi of Stanford University. Dr. Palumbi warns that slowing extinctions in the oceans will mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them. “If by the end of the century we’re not off the business as usual curve we are now, I honestly feel there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean,” he said. “But in the meantime, we do have a chance to do what we can. We have a couple decades more than we thought we had, so let’s please not waste it.” 

Flounder on the dock at Beaufort, NC
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Wild Coho frozen-at-sea off Sitka, AK

Flounder season is in full swing in the Carolinas, and boats that have traditionally landed in Pimlico Sound have been unable to pass from the Atlantic. Sand bars have clogged Oregon Inlet, formed when a hurricane lashed the Outer Banks in 1846, separating Bodie Island from Pea Island, and many boats are landing further south in Beaufort. This is good news for our boys on the Beaufort dock and for our chefs everywhere.  We’ve also had some bad news from the Beaufort dock as our friend Eric Forsberg is gravely ill, and our thoughts and prayers are with him.

One of our favorite food trends of 2015 is brain food. Nothing feeds our brains better than omega-rich wild salmon from Alaska. The folks at Canyon Ranch are feeding their guests bodies and their minds with our frozen-at-sea coho from Sitka. Chef Jamie TeBockhorst of Canyon Ranch Tuscon wrote two days ago ”Sold about 125 salmon tonight. That's about half of our house count eating salmon. #ilovewhatido but do you see what you're doing to me?” Healthy, happy folks in the desert.

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


 

Catfish and Dogfish

January 4, 2015

In a condition that persists around the globe. thirty years ago America’s wild fisheries were in collapse. The institution of strict management has effected a remarkable comeback for fish stocks around all of our coasts, but at a great cost to fishermen and the traditional fishing communities they support.

Over 90% of all seafood consumed in the US comes from outside the US, and nearly 2/3 consumed is shrimp, salmon, or tuna, driving higher prices. A great way to address these issues is to enjoy the many abundant, delicious, but under-loved species that our fishermen catch.

Atlantic Spiny Dogfish are so abundant that Tom Lyons, of the Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative in Seabrook, NH says “In my opinion they've taken over the ocean. You can't fish without catching dogfish.”

Certified sustainable by the MSC, spiny dogfish are gregarious (social) and travel in schools of hundreds to thousands of individuals. These schools are sometimes segregated by sex and age. They are called dogfish because they travel and hunt in packs. They also migrate in schools, following cool waters.

Dogfish has little market in the US, with almost all of the catch shipped to Europe as the primary protein for fish and chips. Dogfish has a sweet, mild flavor. Its texture is flaky but firm, and it has higher oil content than mako or other sharks. The raw meat is white. The outer flesh can have a reddish hue when cooked, while, while the rest of the meat remains white.

Captain John Tuttle with a dogfish on his F/V Cuda out of Chatham, Mass; Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance.

 

Chesapeake, VA catfisherman Willie Offield

When Wild Blue Catfish were introduced into three Virginia rivers in the 1970s as a game fish, no one foresaw that the catfish would acclimate so well. Having vacuumed their way through local flora and fauna — even some precious Maryland blue crabs — they now outnumber other fish 3-1 in bay tributaries, having become the dominant fish species in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Now considered an invasive, diners can do their part to help rid the Bay of this species by eating it.

Wild blue catfish has a mild, sweet flavor and because it has taken over many tributaries and is not a bottom-dweller, the taste is clean and delicate. "Fish is supposed to have a taste — otherwise, it's just a roll of paper towel," said Chef Jeff Buben of Vidalia in Washington, DC. "Blue catfish has a nice flake, a very clean taste and is sweet and briny. Blue cat lend themselves to preparations that are normally for hake or for cod," he said. "It can be freely interchanged. It is a little more toothsome than hake, but is very codlike."

Serving delicious dogfish and catfish is not only good for the environment and for fishermen and the communities they support, it is good for the pocketbook with a good story to tell. Win, win, win.

Sea to Table is proud to have been selected one of the 8 TEDxManhattan 2015 Award finalists, promoting groundbreaking work and innovative solutions to our broken food system. Although our fellow finalists are some truly excellent folks, we encourage you and all your friends to vote for us early and often.

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


 

Four Florida Fishermen

January 4, 2015

As folks up north wait for the polar vortex to leave her calling card, the sun shines on the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Fish are jumping, and we have some friends whose boats they jump into.

Tarpon Springs, an hour north of Tampa on Florida’s west coast, started in the 1880’s as a town where divers would harvest natural sponge. When a red tide algae bloom occurred in 1947, wiping out the sponge fields, many of the boats and divers switched to fishing.

Pat Bennett is a Tarpon Springs spear fisherman who knows how to take care of his fish. He and his crew on the F/V Teeha Marie take pride in the accuracy of their head-shots, and how they bleed and ice spectacular groupers and snappers.

Captain Ed Walker lands his F/V Long Gone at the same dock. He is a rod and reel man who both trolls the surface and bottom fishes the offshore reefs. He somehow has the magic touch as he always seems to come home with the prettiest fish.

Teeha Marie crew with some beautiful fish
Captain Ed Walker on the F/V Long Gone

Out towards the end of Florida’s panhandle lies Destin, ‘The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’, a popular vacation spot with white sandy beaches and emerald clear waters. Fertile inshore waters full of forage fish compliment deep mounds and reefs offshore, home to large schools of tuna, and a variety of reef fish.

Just off the beach in Choctawhatchee Bay, ‘Mullet Mike’ cast nets for both red and striped mullet. This video gives a good glimpse into his famous technique.

Captain John Brown fishes in deeper water. Legend has it that he got a great deal when he bought the F/V Toni Lynn. The previous captain had been fishing off Grand Isle, LA when an argument with his first mate ended up with the captain’s body overboard. John was ‘jonnie on the spot’ as he brought the vessel to Florida for a song.

Mullet Mike with stripped mullet
Destin Captain John Brown with a box of grouper cheeks

On New Year’s Day, the NY Times published an interesting history of cod in New England. And in 2015 the state of Oregon will be the first to employ drones observing salmon to collect migration.data. What will they think of next?

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


 
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