Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Indian River Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival

The 2nd Annual Indian River Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 15-16 2011, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Indian River Fairgrounds, Vero Beach, Fl.

The show will feature roughly 400 nautical and marine vendor booths, used Boats, seafood, music with continuous live reggie and island music, boating and fishing seminars, workshops and demonstrations.

The Marine Nautical Tropical Themed Arts and Crafts show will offer a wide range of artists, vendors and other displays.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mackerel War Update

Despite threats of an EU ban on Icelandic mackerel imports, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture has announced that Iceland´s mackerel quota in 2011 will be 146,818 tons.

According a Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture press release: "The EU and Norway have now decided their mackerel quotas for next year. In total they amount to 583,882 tons or more than 90% of the recommended total allowable catch. Obviously, these parties have disregarded the legitimate interests of the other coastal States, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and of Russia. The quota decision of the EU and Norway is in fact a decision that the total mackerel fishery next year will exceed the recommended total allowable catch and these parties bear full responsibility for that"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

UC Davis Study Finds Salmon Farms Not Harmful to Wild Salmon

A new UC Davis study contradicts earlier reports that salmon farms were responsible for the 2002 population crash of wild pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago of western Canada.

The Broughton crash has become a rallying event for people concerned about the potential environmental effects of open-net salmon farming, which has become a $10 billion industry worldwide, producing nearly 1.5 million tons of fish annually.

The new study, to be published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, does not determine what caused the crash, but it acquits the prime suspect: small skin parasites called sea lice.

The study's lead author is Gary Marty, a veterinary pathologist and research associate at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. An expert in fish diseases, Marty has been studying the health of pink salmon since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

"No significant effect on wild salmon"

"For anybody concerned about the effect of farm salmon on wild salmon, this is good news," Marty said. "Sea lice from fish farms have no significant effect on wild salmon population productivity."

source: University of California, Davis, News Service

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 North Atlantic Mackerel War Continues

BBC Scotland is reporting that Europe is preparing the way for sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands over the so-called "mackerel wars".

Both island nations have announced plans for increased mackerel catches, which could in turn impact Scottish catches of this small but controversial fish. Mackerel is the Scottish fleet's most valuable stock.

According to BBC Scotland, Europe's Fisheries Commissioner is now believed to be pushing for changes in regulations that could result in sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

 The latest round of talks, held in December failed to resolve the on-going dispute. The meeting, which included the EU and Norway, ended with the Faroese refusing to sign an agreement to limit mackerel catch levels for 2011.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "We were extremely frustrated by last week's breakdown in mackerel talks."

The controversy centers around Atlantic mackerel, which are small pelagic fish that travel in huge schools. Scientists claim that mackerel, in response to rising sea temperatures have shifted their range northward, which brings more fish into Icelandic and Faroese waters.

Meanwhile Scottish and other European fishermen feel that increased fishing quotas could devastate mackerel stocks, impacting the entire region.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Groups Oppose Genetically Engineered Salmon

According to a coalition of Canadian groups, Environment Canada refuses to confirm or deny if the department has already started a secret 120-day risk assessment to approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon egg production on Prince Edward Island. The groups also released a joint statement of “categorical objection” to the raising of GE fish and fish eggs (1).

Documents released in September by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that the US company AquaBounty is seeking approval to sell its GE salmon into the US food market based on a plan to produce all its GE salmon eggs on Prince Edward Island (PEI) and then ship the eggs to Panama for grow out and processing.

Following this revelation, groups made inquiries to Environment Canada but were told that any information about a possible risk assessment is confidential. The groups are calling for full disclosure and demanding that Environment Canada cease any approval process that may already be underway.

“We call on Environment Canada to reject any request for permission to commercially produce genetically engineered fish or fish eggs,” said Matthew Abbott, Fundy Baykeeper Coordinator, “Environment Canada needs to immediately inform Canadians if they have started an environmental assessment for GE salmon egg production. This secrecy is totally unacceptable.”

The joint statement of opposition to GE fish, “No GE Fish Research, Production, Consumption in, and Export from, Canada,” was signed by a wide range of groups from across Canada including the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre Nova Scotia, the PEI Coalition for a GMO-Free Province, Fundy Baykeeper, Living Oceans Society, Pure Salmon Campaign, Fraser Riverkeeper, First Nations Environmental Network, Greenpeace, and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

“Farmed fish can and do escape. Genetically engineered salmon is an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to endangered wild Atlantic salmon,” said Shauna MacKinnon of Living Oceans Society in BC. “When GE fish escape into wild populations, studies indicate that wild fish are at risk of decline.”

“We don’t want Prince Edward Island to be the global origin of dangerous GE salmon,” said Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians on PEI. A coalition of PEI groups is asking Premier Robert Ghiz to intervene and insist on disclosure from Environment Canada (2). “It’s highly disturbing that we only found out about the company’s plans for Prince Edward Island from US consultations,” said Broderick who attended US FDA hearings in September.

The company AquaBounty has engineered a faster growing Atlantic salmon by inserting a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon and genetic material from ocean pout (an eel-like creature).

“Documents released by the US government reveal that the company is assuming it will get permission to produce all of its GE salmon eggs in Canada,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “Minister of Environment John Baird must take immediate action to stop genetically engineered salmon eggs from being produced in Canada. We have a global responsibility to protect Atlantic salmon from this dangerous technology.”

(1) The full statement opposing GE fish and list of signatory groups can be viewed at http://www.cban.ca/statementopposingGEfish

(2) The letter to the Premier of PEI can be viewed at http://www.cban.ca/PEIletter

source: cban.ca

NRDC Study: FDA Underestimates Gulf Coast Residents Exposure to Carcinogens in Seafood

A survey of Gulf Coast seafood consumption habits released by the Natural Resources Defense Council reveals that many Gulf residents are eating far more seafood, far more often, than the federal government has acknowledged, bringing seafood safety standards under renewed scrutiny.
Significant discrepancies between estimates by the Food and Drug Administration and reported consumption rates were found, in particular, with regard to shrimp consumption: on the low-end FDA’s estimates were 3.6 times too low, and on the high-end, actual consumption exceeded FDA estimates by more than 12-fold.

"It’s common knowledge that people in the Gulf love their seafood. When we think of food from the region we think of po-boys and gumbo, oyster bakes and jambalaya. Yet despite this, FDA has been setting safety standards for cancer-causing chemicals based on nationwide seafood consumption rates -- failing to take the uniqueness of the regional diet into consideration. And this is a problem, because it means that current FDA standards may also be failing to adequately protect many people in the Gulf," said Dr. Gina Solomon a senior scientist with NRDC. Additional comments by Dr. Solomon can be found in her blog post "It’s the Dose That Makes the Poison".

In June 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a protocol for determining safe levels for cancer-causing chemicals from oil (PAHs) in Gulf seafood. The protocol was guided by seafood consumption rates derived from national data, rather than from a Gulf Coast survey or other surveys of frequent fish consumers. Based on this national data, FDA assumed that people eat just two meals of fish and one meal of shrimp per week, with no more than 3 ounces of shrimp per meal (approximately four jumbo shrimp).

The NRDC survey, released in December 2010, looked at the eating habits of 547 Gulf Coast residents living in counties bordering the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The survey revealed that the rate of shrimp consumption in coastal communities significantly exceeded the estimates used by FDA to calculate a safe level of exposure to PAHs.

Actual consumption rates ranged from 3.6 to 12.1 times higher than FDA estimates. Some subpopulations, particularly Vietnamese-Americans, also reported appreciably higher seafood consumption rates across the board (fish, shrimp, oyster, crab), than other survey respondents and FDA estimates. Although the survey did not represent a random sample, the results are noteworthy in that they clearly show that a considerable portion of Gulf Coast residents eat substantially more seafood than reflected in FDA’s risk assessment.

In addition, many of survey respondents may be more vulnerable to contaminants in seafood than FDA accounted for due to smaller body weight: 60% reported that they weighed less than the weight estimate used by FDA to establish seafood safety, and more than 40% of respondents reported having children at home who eat seafood.

NRDC and Gulf groups remain concerned that when coupled with increased consumption rates, this can result in a significantly increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. And while the FDA has posted data that show very low levels of PAHs in seafood, flawed sampling procedures have led many experts to doubt the reliability of those results.

“Many Vietnamese-Americans in the Gulf eat seafood almost daily. We need to know that FDA is using strong guidelines that protect everyone in our community, not just the people who eat four jumbo shrimp a week,” said Jennifer Vu, co-coordinator of Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisherfolks and Families.

In August, nearly two dozen Gulf Coast groups and NRDC commented on FDA’s assumptions in a formal letter to the Agency saying that, in their judgment, these numbers significantly underestimate local seafood consumption.

In light of the NRDC survey results, 36 Gulf Coast groups along with NRDC have sent a letter to FDA calling on the agency to expedite the reassessment of the cut-off levels used for contaminants in Gulf seafood to assure that local dietary patterns and other vulnerabilities are incorporated, arguing that FDA’s current contaminant cut-offs routinely underestimate local seafood consumption and are inadequate to protect the health of local populations.

source: Natural Resources Defense Council

Slow Fish Campaign

Slow Food International recently launched a campaign called Slow Fish aimed at supporting responsible fishing communities and promoting good, clean, and fair fishing.

Over the course of the conference fishers, including members of the New England delegation, laid the tracks for Slow Fish's guiding document that will shape the campaign's direction moving forward.

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance is working closely with Slow Fish organizers to finalize the document and help make the Slow Fish campaign a powerful tool for fishing communities around the world.

NAMA’s mission is to restore and enhance an enduring marine system supporting a healthy diversity and an abundance of marine life and human uses through a self-organizing and self-governing organization.

source: namanet.org

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maryland Seafood Brochures, Cookbooks

To help make holiday meal planning easier, the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Seafood & Aquaculture Program is offering a recipe brochure. The document features 11 seafood recipes from the state, including crab ball, fried oysters, traditional Maryland oyster stew and smoked bluefish spread.

The Maryland Seafood Holiday Brochure is available on line at www.marylandseafood.org, by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Maryland Seafood Holiday, 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401, or by calling toll free in Maryland at 888-841-5828. Outside of Maryland call 410-841-5972.

The state is also offering Maryland Seafood Cookbooks? Three different editions are available, individually or as an entire set. All three cookbooks feature numerous recipes that highlight the many delicious species of fish and shellfish that are harvested from local waters. Maryland Seafood Cookbooks are available for $6.95 each plus tax and shipping.

To purchase cookbooks, call the request line toll free in Maryland at 888-841-5828 or 410-841-5972 if outside Maryland.  Order forms are also available on the web at www.marylandseafood.org.

source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oregon Dungeness Crab Fishery Earns Marine Stewardship Council Certification

The Oregon Dungeness crab fishery which operates off the USA west coast has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. The MSC ecolabel was awarded following independent assessment to the MSC standard for sustainable, well-managed fisheries.

Dungeness crab is Oregon’s official 'state crustacean'. The crabs have been harvested commercially along the Pacific coast since the late 1800’s. Dungeness crabs range from central California to the Gulf of Alaska, and is Oregon’s most valuable single species fishery.

Oregon’s harvest for the 2009-2010 season was 23,195,059 pounds (10,521 metric tons) and the landed value was $44.8 million. Oregon is currently the top producer of Dungeness crab worldwide.

The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission is the fishery client, with 425 limited entry license holders fishing primarily within 10 miles of the Oregon coast. Dungeness crab is sold live, or as fresh or frozen whole cooked crabs, as well as picked meat, legs and sections. The United States is the major market for Dungeness crab although products are also shipped to markets around the world.

"We are very happy to have successfully completed the certification process and join the other fisheries in Oregon and around the world that have earned this important sustainability designation," said Nick Furman, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. "We anticipate that the MSC label will create new marketplace opportunities and recognition for ‘Oregon Dungeness’ as awareness of and demand for certified seafood products grows."

source: MSC

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bangor Mussel Producers Fishery Certified

The Bangor Mussel Producers fishery was certified as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. Mussels from Bangor will be able to bear the coveted MSC ecolabel.

The North Menai Strait mussel fishery is an enhanced fishery where two boats use small dredges to catch young ‘seed’ mussels from the beds where they accumulate and then relay them on leased areas inside the Menai Strait where they thrive.

The mussels start off at an intertidal zone (that dries out on most tides) to develop thick shells that will protect them against predators. Over the next 9-18 months, they are moved to progressively deeper waters that rarely get exposed by the tides until, eventually, they are moved to deeper water in denser colonies where they can feed constantly and build up their body mass into a fat, juicy mussel.  Once the mussels have reached a suitable size, the fishermen re-catch them and sell them to the market.

The fishery scored highly for its stock status with the certifier noting that the fishery had a negligible or potentially positive impact on mussel stocks.

The fishery was sponsored through its assessment by The Co-operative’s £200,000 Sustainable Fishing Fund that is sponsoring fisheries across the UK through MSC assessments.

source: MSC press release

Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Buy and Serve Virginia Oysters

Virginia oysters are harvested from North America's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Farm raised Virginia oysters are also available along much of the Atlantic Coast. Virginia oysters in the shell are sold by the bushel, peck, dozen or piece. When buying oysters, one can expect to need 40-60 standard oysters to obtain a pint of raw shucked oysters and liquor.

Oysters are also sold freshly shucked, in their own juice. The number of oysters per pint varies depending on market sizes. These are some common market sizes for shucked oysters:

Extra Large or Counts - less than 20
Large or Extra Select - 20–26
Medium or Select - 26–38
Small or Standard - 38–63
Very Small - more than 63

When serving raw oysters on the half shell as an appetizer, plan on 5-6 oysters per person, or 12-18 per person as an entree. Most recipes that call for shucked oysters are based on using 1 pint of oysters and liquor.

Steamed oysters should not be overcooked. Steamed or roasted oysters are served with melted butter, cider vinegar or other condiments. Other sides suitable for serving with steamed oysters include home baked breads, green salads and light soups.

More Information

How to Shuck Oysters

How to Steam Oysters
Traditional Oyster Recipes

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seafood For Christmas - Fresh Fish, Shellfish, Artwork and Apparel

For shoppers that choose to give seafood as a holiday gift, this seafood business directory provides detailed listings of online seafood markets, shops and other ecommerce sites.

In addition to fresh seafood, online stores offer ornaments, cards, and other items featuring a variety of seafood logos, photos or other artwork.

Among the online stores that specialize in seafood artwork are:

Online shoppers will find fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, clam and oyster t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, coffee mugs, art and other gifts at Fish-Fishing-Seafood online store.

Outdoors USA online store offers a wide range of seafood-themed Christmas ornaments, stickers, buttons, magnets, aprons, kitchen decor, apparel and other gift items.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Polaris Lipids Certified By Friend of the Sea

Friend of the Sea recently certified Polaris nutritional lipids. The company's fish oil-based products originate from the Peruvian anchovies sustainable fleet. Polaris is one of the global leaders in nutritional lipids, specializing in the production and the formulation of polyunsaturated fatty acids including Omega 3s. Polaris is the partner and sole agent of EPAX high quality fish oils in France, Spain and Portugal.

source: Friend of the Sea

MSC Announces 7000th Ecolabelled Product

J Sainsbury peeled, frozen prawns recently became the 7000th MSC ecolabelled product worldwide. Growth in MSC ecolabelled products has increased dramatically over the past four years doubling, on average, every 12 - 15 months.

According to MSC, consumer interest in their branding has rocketed over the past two years with recent figures showing a 60% increase in recognition of the MSC ecolabel in the UK. The organization reports that nearly one in five people now recognize the MSC ecolabel..

source: MSC press release

Thursday, November 11, 2010

EU MEP Rails Against Imported Pangasius

According to a recent press release from conservative MEP Struan Stevenson, Pangasius or panga fish is being sold at rock-bottom prices under names including basa, grey sole and Vietnamese river cobbler by UK supermarkets, fishmongers and fish-and-chip shops.

In the past year alone, UK sales of frozen pangasius have rocketed by 50% to nearly 1,500 tonnes, while sales of traditional species like cod, salmon and trout have dropped.

In a keynote speech to a conference on aquaculture in the European Parliament, Mr. Stevenson reported that imports of the cheap fish are undercutting European fish farmers and allowing multinational firms to exploit virtual “slave labour” in Vietnam.

Imports now account for 60% of fish consumed within the EU, worth £25billion last year. Imported fish included 224,100 tonnes of pangasius from Vietnam.

Mr Stevenson was critical of pangasuis production in the region, stating that: "The Mekong River is one of the most heavily polluted rivers on Earth. Factories along its banks daily pump thousands of tonnes of contaminants into its slow-flowing waters.

"As a result, the water in which pangasius is being farmed is teeming with bacteria and poisoned with industrial effluents including arsenic, mercury and DDT."

Monday, November 8, 2010

ASA Fights Sea Scallop Short Weighing Fraud

The American Scallop Association recently announced that it’s stepping up efforts to fight fraud in the sea scallop industry. The association is pledging to accurately label all scallop products including fresh and frozen as well as domestic and foreign. The plan will establish a system to self-police its 18 members.

Sea scallops are among several products with a history of seafood short-weighing. In past investigations, Weights and Measures Inspectors with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found that consumers were being charged for glazing and ice in packaged scallops, resulting in massive overcharges.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ny-Fiskur Cod Will Carry Friend of the Sea Logo

Friend of the Sea has certified the jiggers and liners Ny-Fiskur cod fleet supplying Marine Harvest and the Swiss wholesaler and processor Covedis (provider of Manor and Sushi Zen). The certified cod will now reach the Swiss and International markets carrying the Friend of the Sea logo.

source: Friend of the Sea

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Oregon Dungeness Crab Season

Good news is in about the 2010 Fall Oregon Dungeness Crab season. "The first round of quality testing completed on 20 October has revealed that crabs are looking healthy and packed with meat", said Nick Furman, the Executive Director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. Furman went on to state that "We think we'll have another good harvest this year."

source: FishLink Sublegals

Genetically Engineered Salmon under Fire

On October 26, 2010 U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt its approval process for an Atlantic Salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies.

In a letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Senator Snowe said the FDA’s current review process, originally created to review applications for new animal drugs, was inadequate and inappropriate for the review at hand and urged the FDA to establish a targeted, detailed and transparent environmental review process for genetically engineered animals intended for human consumption, including a commitment to hold additional public hearings on the topic.

Senator Snowe’s letter also called on the FDA to pursue additional consultations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) as required by law. “Transgenic fish have the potential to negatively affect our current wild capture fisheries, aquaculture operations, and other sectors of the economy that depend on healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems.

The critical letter is one of several recent blows against the plan to approve what opponents call "frankenfish". The Center for Food Safety (CFS) also released a press release argues which clams that the FDA knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Friday, October 29, 2010

MSC Certified OCI Grand Bank Yellowtail Flounder

The Ocean Choice International (OCI) Grand Bank yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) trawl fishery has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, having been independently assessed by an accredited certifier and found to meet the MSC standard for sustainably managed fisheries.  In achieving MSC certification, products from this fishery are now eligible to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.

This demersal trawl fishery is located in the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) areas 3L, 3N and 3O on the Grand Banks near Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.  Stock assessments and overall management objectives for this fishery are established by NAFO and the fishery is regulated by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The product from the OCI Grand Bank yellowtail flounder trawl fishery is sold internationally in various forms, including fresh or frozen fillets in USA and Canadian foodservice and retail markets, as karimi in Japan or as skinless, skin-on fresh/frozen fillets in Europe.

Marine Stewardship Council Certifies Scottish Haddock Fishery

The Scottish haddock fishery is now certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) North Sea haddock certification follows a 20 month independent assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council standard.

The SFSAG fishery includes 192 boats fishing for haddock with a combination of fishing gears in the northern and central areas of the North Sea. Worth £34 million each year, the fleet catches 27,507 metric tonnes of haddock – most of which is sold in the European markets.

The first UK supermarket to stock MSC certified Scottish haddock will be Marks and Spencer. MSC labelled Scottish Smoked Haddock will be available in M&S stores from the 3rd November.

source: MSC

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UNH Fisheries Research to Plate

Seafood enthusiasts can enjoy fresh local seafood during "Fisheries Research to Plate", an event which is scheduled to be held on November 9th, 2010 from 6-8pm.

Attendees will learn how fishermen have worked with UNH researchers to help conserve fish populations in the Gulf of Maine while tasting New Hampshire caught fish prepared by the UNH Thompson School's Culinary Arts Program.

Registration is only $10.00. Make a reservation at: https://www.events.unh.edu/RegistrationForm.pm?event_id=7778

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SeaShare Offers Fishes and Dishes Cookbook

SeaShare is offering a gift of the Fishes and Dishes Cookbook when members contribute $500 or more.  Released during the summer of 2010, the book provides 80 mouth-watering recipes and describes the adventurous lives of women who work in America's most dangerous industry, with harrowing and funny stories.

SeaShare's primary goal is to supply seafood products to supplement the food resources available to hungry Americans. The organization welcomes donations of cash or seafood products. Every dollar contributed can provide at least 6 seafood servings.

For more information, visit www.seashare.org

2010 American River Salmon Festival Canceled

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has announced that the American River Salmon Festival has been canceled for 2010.

DFG and other festival sponsors have had to cancel the event for the second year in a row. Reasons cited for the cancellation include budget and staff cuts experienced by many of the sponsors and partners, as well as state employee furloughs and negative economic conditions.

The annual October celebration is normally held at the Nimbus Hatchery and Lake Natoma, providing the public with a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the American and Sacramento rivers and their connection to the salmon population.

Friday, October 8, 2010

MSC Ecolabel Public Awareness

Close to one in four adults are aware of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ecolabel, according to a survey carried out by AMR Marketing Research in July 2010.

The research, carried out in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Japan shows that across these regions, 23 per cent of the adult population is now aware of the MSC ecolabel – up from 9 per cent in 2008.

Awareness of the MSC ecolabel varies across the regions but is currently at the highest level in Germany, which has leapt to 36 per cent (from 11 per cent in 2008).

According to the study, consumers report they are looking for and buying more ecolabelled products these days (37 per cent), the surveys show that there are a growing number of shoppers that are increasingly environmentally conscious and concerned about sustainability (56 per cent); less price sensitive (32 per cent);  and prepared to go out of their way to purchase ecolabelled products (24 per cent).

Overall, 55 per cent of respondents believe ecolabels are effective in helping bringing changes to environmental/social problems (33 per cent still undecided) and 65 per cent think that buying MSC- labelled products will help bring improvements to the marine environment (31 per cent  still undecided).

The growth in awareness is also supported by other research carried out by Panelwizard commissioned in March 2010 in the Netherlands in which 22 % of respondents can identify the MSC ecolabel.

source: Marine Stewardship Council press release

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Donation from Santa Monica Seafood to Help Rebuild Crab Stocks

Santa Monica Seafood, a family-owned seafood company based in Santa Monica, California, made a donation to Alaska Sea Grant for its research program aimed at rebuilding Alaska’s collapsed red and blue king crab stocks.

David Christie, director of Alaska Sea Grant, welcomed the donation. Chistie said the money will be used to support research being done by the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program (AKCRRAB), a partnership between Alaska Sea Grant, regional fishermen's groups, coastal communities, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery and Chugach Regional Resources Commission, and the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Drawing on lessons learned each year, AKCRRAB scientists at the Alutiiq Pride Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, have steadily applied what they’ve learned about water temperature, flow rate, and artificial habitat to improve larval survival and hatchery productivity. They also experimented with types of food as well as feeding procedures for growing crab larvae. This year, 2.7 million red king crab successfully hatched from some 18 female red king crab.

Understanding the details of hatching and raising king crab in a hatchery is considered by commercial fishermen and researchers as a key step toward providing state fishery managers with the information they need to decide whether hatchery enhancement can help rebuild depleted king crab stocks.

source: Alaska Sea Grant

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scottish Mussels Awarded FoS Certification

Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) rope grown mussels are the first farmed seafood in the UK to be awarded Friend of the Sea (FoS) certification.

The SSMG group consists of 14 mussel farms which are located on the Scottish west coast and Shetland. SSMG represents about 70% of total Scottish mussel production.

SSMG mussels are collected naturally as tiny free-swimming larvae or spat from the sea on lines suspended in open water. They then grow naturally by feeding on plankton carried by currents off the Scottish west coast and Shetland.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FDA Hears Comments on Genetically Modified Salmon

AquAdvantage salmon, developed by Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc., are genetically modified (GM) to grow twice as fast as conventional Atlantic salmon and are as safe to eat as other Atlantic salmon, U.S. regulators said as they weighed approval of the first DNA-altered animal for Americans' dinner plates.

According to the FDA, it saw "no biologically relevant differences" in vitamins, minerals or fatty acids and is highly unlikely to cause “significant harm” to the environment.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a three-day public meeting starting 19 September on the DNA-altered fish. If approved, this decision will open the flood gates for approval of any and all genetically engineered animals including trout, tilapia and hogs.

Farmed salmon opponents site numerous concerns including: current harm by fish farms to wild salmon and water quality; farmed fish are less nutritious than wild fish; farmed salmon devalues wild salmon and, as a result, flowing rivers; and fish escaped from fish farms may compete with wild populations.

Massachusetts-based Aqua Bounty says the technology could boost the nation's fish sector and reduce pressure on the environment from overfishing. Ronald Stotish, the company's President and Chief Executive said the genetically modified fish can become a sustainable source of food for an exploding global population.

source: Fishlink Sublegals

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 Florida Cedar Key Seafood Festival

For 2010, the 41st Annual Cedar Key Seafood Festival will be held at Cedar Key City Park on October 16 and 17. The festival celebrates the area's fishing heritage with two days of seafood, music, and fun.

The festival features a variety of booths selling local seafood. Cedar Key church groups, school clubs, nonprofits, and oyster and clamming associations are expected to serve fresh grouper sandwiches, oysters, clams, clam fritters, crab cakes, smoked mullet, and all the trimmings. The festival also featured over 200 arts and crafts exhibits, live music, and a parade on Saturday morning.

The historic Seahorse Key Lighthouse is hosting an open house on both days of the festival. The lighthouse is the oldest still standing on Florida's west coast. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, look at the exhibits, and explore the island, which is part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.

The Cedar Key Seafood Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

For information, contact Thelma McCain at (352) 543-5436 or visit www.cedarkey.org/events.html

source: FDACS press release

MSC Blue Label Awarded to Osprey Trawlers North Sea Twin-rigged Plaice Fishery

The Osprey Trawlers North Sea Twin-rigged plaice fishery has been awarded the Marine Stewardship Council certificate, making it the second North Sea plaice fishery to achieve MSC certification for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The vessels of the Osprey Group will from now be able to affix the blue MSC ecolabel to their catches.

The fishery targets plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) using twin-rigged demersal trawl in the north east Atlantic. Its vessels catch approximately 2,000 Metric Tonnes annually (about 3% of EU North Sea quota). The Osprey Group's fishing season runs from 1 April to 15 November in order to avoid the spawning season for plaice.

The use of twin otter trawls to fish for plaice is a relatively recent innovation. The main reason for the change to twin rigs is the reduction in fuel used and improved condition of the landed fish. The nets have a number of features designed to reduce the discarding of unwanted by-catch and to reduce the impact on the sea floor.  To protect the sea bed the Osprey Group avoids fishing in a number of areas which correspond with those previously closed by Ekofish Group.

The plaice is landed at Urk and Insula in The Netherlands but supplies markets selling whole and filleted (fresh & frozen), and breaded plaice fillets throughout the EU.

The plaice is a type of flatfish with a smooth brown or greenish brown upper-side with many vivid orange spots and bony knobs behind the eyes. Mostly nocturnal, they feed on bottom-living animals.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

American Catfish Farms

In the USA, the channel catfish is the primary species of farm-raised fish. American catfish farming began in the southern part of the country in the 1960's.

Most American catfish farms are located in the Mississippi Delta, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana, with their combined acreage accounting for more than 90 percent of American catfish production.

In 2009, Americans consumed nearly .85 pounds of catfish per person. U.S. catfish growers produced over $370 million in sales for the year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Top American Seafood of 2009

The National Fisheries Institute’s (NFI) "Top Ten" Seafood list for 2009 names shrimp as the most popular seafood in the USA. Other types of seafood in the top 10 included canned tuna, salmon, Alaska pollock, tilapia, catfish, crabs, cod, clams and pangasius. The ten most popular varieties compromised more than 88 percent of American seafood consumption for the year.

2009 Top Ten Seafood (pounds per person)

Shrimp (4.1)

Canned Tuna (2.5)

Salmon (2.04)

Alaska Pollock (1.454)

Tilapia (1.208)

Catfish (0.849)

Crab (0.594)

Cod (0.419)

Clams (0.413)

Pangasius (0.356)

source: NFI

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ASMI Launches www.wildalaskaflavor.com

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has announced the upcoming launch of a robust consumer advertising campaign featuring both print and online components for the "Before We Cook Up A Storm, We Weather One" creative.

Supporting the project is a new website, www.wildalaskaflavor.com. The site was created to educate consumers about Alaska seafood.

Among the features of the site are videos which provide insight into the thoughts and lives of the dedicated fishermen that "weather the storm" to harvest wild fish and seafood which are landed in Alaska.

NOAA Report: Fisheries of the United States - 2009

NOAA has released its Fisheries of the United States - 2009. The publication is a preliminary report for 2009 on commercial and recreational fisheries of the United States with landings from the U.S. territorial seas, the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and on the high seas.

According to the report:

Americans consumed 15.8 pounds of fish and shellfish per person in 2009, down .2 pounds from 2008 data.

Per capita consumption of fresh and frozen products was 11.8 pounds

Fresh and frozen finfish consumption was 6.2 pounds per capita.

Fresh and frozen shellfish consumption was 5.6 pounds per capita.

Consumption of canned fishery products was 3.7 pounds per capita.

Cured fish consumption was 0.3 pound per capita.

Imports of edible seafood made up 84 percent of the consumption.

Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, was the nation’s No. 1 fishing port in terms of volume at 506.3 million pounds.

New Bedford, Ma was the No. 1 fishing port in terms of value at USD 249.2 million.

U.S. imports of edible seafood products amounted to 5.2 billion pounds valued at USD 13.1 billion in 2009.

U.S. exports of edible seafood products came to 2.5 billion pounds valued at USD 4 billion in 2009.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ASMI Releases Two New Cookbooks

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has announced the creation of 2 new seafood cookbooks.

ASMI Retail recently completed a 52-page cookbook featuring recipes from three of the nation's top celebrity chefs: Barton Seaver, Jerry Traunfeld, and Govind Armstrong. It marries their best Alaska seafood recipes with their professional insight on such topics as "sustainability," "entertaining" and "a chef's guide to selecting fish."

In the book, Alaska seafood is featured in various preparations of Alaska cod, salmon, pollock, black cod, scallops, crab, smoked salmon and halibut.

The cookbook will be used as a premium giveaway at consumer shows such as: Newport Mansions Wine & Food, Boston Wine Expo and Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, as well as a consumer prize in various Alaska Seafood promotions at supermarkets across the nation.

From ASMI's foodservice program comes the recipe book, Between the Bread and the Deep Blue Sea. The recipe book transforms classic recipes, such as Sole Meunière, Pollock Po' Boy and Halibut Cioppino, into sandwiches that use Alaska seafood.

Between the Bread and the Deep Blue Sea will be distributed at chef and foodservice trade conferences and trade shows, and is also available on ASMI's website.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seafood Film Festival to be Held in New Bedford MA

Anyone interested in the U.S. seafood industry is invited to a mini film festival at the National Park’s Corson Maritime  Learning Center (33 William Street, New Bedford MA) on Thursday, September 9th from 5-8:30 p.m.

The audience will view several of the films to be featured at the 2010 Working Waterfront Festival and hear from Festival organizers about what else is in store this year’s event.

This free event is being presented as part Art History Architecture, New Bedford’s monthly arts and culture night.

Films to be screened are as follows:

* Whales of Gold (5-5:30pm) – Explores the impact of eco-tourism on a traditional fishing community in Baja California which has become a destination for whale watching

* Tugging Through Time (5:40–6:40pm) – Chronicles the history of tug boats in the New York harbor.

* Scalloping With the Courageous (6:50–7:20pm) – Documents a full trip as shot by the crew. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTdkkg6G0KY to watch a trailer!

* Truth: Fishing Crisis or Government Mismanagement (7:30–8:30pm) - Presents the controversy around fishing regulations in the United States including an interview with Sig Hansen of Deadliest Catch.

The 2010 Working Waterfront Festival is scheduled to be held September 25th & 26th in New Bedford MA.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 Fraser River Sockeye Returns

On August 24, 2010, the Honourable Gail Shea, Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, issued the following statement:

2010 is turning out to be a banner year for Fraser River sockeye salmon, with this year's return currently set at just over 25 million fish, one of the highest returns in the last hundred years. Several fishery openings for Fraser River sockeye have already occurred in 2010 and more are planned.

Conservation and the sustainable use of salmon stocks are the Government of Canada's first priorities in the management of this fishery. With this season's abundant numbers, for the first time in four years, all sectors, including commercial, recreational and First Nations have had a chance to harvest Fraser River sockeye. Having been assured that conservation goals have been met and exceeded, we are extremely pleased that there will be even more opportunities.

For more information about the management of Fraser River sockeye, see:


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Five Years of Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Five years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall and became one of the most destructive disasters in U.S. history, ravaging the Gulf of Mexico coastline. Especially hard hit were the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Impacts were seen thru major decreases in landings of fish, shrimp, oysters and other seafood. Landing values for the following year showed losses in the millions, compared to the previous five year average's values. Although the Gulf of Mexico sea food industry suffered severe losses, it endured and regained great strength.

Again in 2010 disaster struck the Gulf of Mexico when the BP Deepwater Horizon incident became the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Although these events have affected thousands of lives, the valiant people of the Gulf Coast will continue to provide fresh seafood to the USA.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Study Calls for Increased Scottish Mussel Farming

A new report has identified significant scope for growth in Scotland's shellfish industry, with mussel farming identified as an area that Scottish producers should place more focus on.

Researchers at the University of Stirling have analyzed the prospects and opportunities of farming mussels, oysters and scallops. The report says that, despite Scotland's marine environment offering good opportunities for cultivating shellfish, productions remains low compared to other parts of Europe.

A Study of the Prospects and Opportunities for Shellfish Farming In Scotland was produced by Stirling Aquaculture, based at the University of Stirling, and funded by Marine Scotland. The study covers issues such as site availability, market size and location, development and production and water quality. The report analyses the prospects for mussels, oysters and scallops.

In 2008, Scottish shellfish farmers produced 5,869 metric tonnes of blue mussels.

source: scotland.gov.uk

Filipino Farmers Receive Tilapia for Backyard Fish Farms

In the Philippines, over 85,000 tilapia fingerlings were given away to local farmers for use in starting backyard tilapia food production, according to Prisciana C. Torres, AT/ Fisheries Coordinator of the Maasin City Agricultural Office.

At least 76 farmer-recipients were given from 500 to 2,000 tilapia fingerlings during the traditional Pabulhon, the city's agri and aqua fair. The event, held in August coincides with the twin celebrations of the 10th Charter Day celebration of Maasin Cityhood and city fiesta.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shetland Farm Raised Salmon Production Up 15 Percent

The ex-farm value of the Shetland salmon sector is to top £145million in 2010, an increase of 15% from the previous year (£126m in 2009), according to Shetland Aquaculture. 

The salmon industry generates over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Shetland. With a working population of 10,000 people, this accounts for over 10% of the workforce, making it the largest private sector employer on the islands.

Shetland is the largest salmon producing region in the UK, producing over 30% of the nation's farmed salmon. The Shetland Islands (part of Scotland) is known for its Atlantic salmon aquaculture. Salmon farms of the region supply conventionally farmed and organic fish. Shetland farmed salmon are typically available as fresh or smoked products.

Florida Shrimp Harvesting Re-opens

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will reopen state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of shrimp at 12:01 a.m. on August 17, 2010.

The FWC had temporarily closed this area to the harvest of fish, shrimp and crabs on June 14 as a precautionary measure due to possible effects of oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, August 9, 2010

B.C. Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Fishery Certified by MSC

The Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) fishery in British Columbia (BC) has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification having been independently assessed by an accredited certifier and found to meet the MSC standard for sustainably managed fisheries.

The Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery was assessed against the Marine Stewardship Council’s robust, environmental standard for the certification of wild capture fisheries. The Fraser River fishery joins three other B.C. sockeye salmon fisheries, the Skeena River, Nass River and Barkley Sound, that recently received MSC certification.

The fishery is managed by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Also involved with the process is the Fraser River Panel, a group comprised of government, First Nations, and recreational and commercial interests from both the United States and Canada.

The Pacific Salmon Commission, a body independent of government, provides scientific advice to the Fraser River Panel and to DFO regarding run size, stock identification, timing of returns and migration conditions.

The Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery operates within British Columbia and Canadian Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone waters. Salmon are harvested by drift and setnet gillnets, purse seine, beach seine and trolling.

Fraser River sockeye salmon are sold fresh in North America, frozen in Japan and Europe and canned primarily in the UK.

source: MSC

Eating Fish Might Help Reverse Lionfish Invasion

A massive fishing effort to stop invasive lionfish involves chefs marketing these delicious fish to consumers.

A new study looking at how to curb the rapid growth of lionfish, an invasive species not native to the Atlantic Ocean, suggests that approximately 27 percent of mature lionfish will have to be removed monthly for one year to reduce its population growth rate to zero.

But the good news is that the invasive fish happens to be delicious. NOAA is encouraging chefs to find new ways to introduce this tasty species of saltwater fish to U.S. consumers.

Lionfish are native to the western and central Pacific Ocean, but have established themselves from North Carolina to South America.

Scientists and public officials are seriously concerned at the effect lionfish are having on reef ecosystems, since this predator is capable of rapid population growth, often competing with native fish for food and territory.

Authorities are also encouraging a local market for the species, whose delicate white flesh tastes similar to a snapper or grouper. NOAA scientists concur that developing a market for lionfish is one of the only ways to substantially reduce their numbers.

NOAA has developed an "Eat Lionfish" campaign that brings together fishing communities, wholesalers, and chefs in an effort to broaden U.S. consumers’ awareness of this delicious invader.

MSC Certifies Canadian Sablefish Fishery

The Canadian sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) fishery operating within the Canadian Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coast of British Columbia (B.C.) has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Products from this sablefish fishery will now be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel. Sablefish is also marketed as black cod.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Florida Spiny Lobster Season Opens

The commercial fishery for spiny lobster in Florida waters will open Friday, August 6, 2010. The season is set to close as usual on March 31, 2011.

How to Clean Catfish for the Table

Catfish are among the most commonly caught freshwater fish. They make good table fare and are relatively easy to clean. The meat is white, mild tasting and boneless when properly cleaned.

These are tips for cleaning catfish:

 - Wash the catfish well before cleaning

 - Make a cut behind the gills from top to bottom and another cut at the tail

 - Using pliers, carefully peel the skin off the fillet

 - Slice along the back, trimming the fillet from the bone. Continue cutting the fillet free, working downward

 - Wash channel catfish fillets and chill immediately.


The same technique applies for channel catfish or bullheads.

Like other fish, catfish destined for the table should be kept cool at all times. Anglers report that bleeding catfish immediately and keeping them on ice will improve their flavor.

An alternative method to skinning is to fillet catfish with the skin on, then lay the fillets on a flat surface and cut the meat away from the skin. This process leaves a thin layer of meat on the skin. This method is said to improve the flavor of catfish during warm weather when some fish tend to have an off taste.

Always use a sharp fillet knife.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Understanding Seafood Sustainability

The subject of seafood sustainability is a complex issue. The subject applies to wild caught seafood as well as farm raised fish and shellfish
The following list offers tips for choosing sustainable seafood:

 - Buy local. Besides helping the local economy, buying local helps insure that fish is fresh. Typically, small scale local fisheries are sustainable

 - Ask questions and read labels. Where did the fish come from? Is it  wild-caught? Is the seafood from a sustainable fishery?

 - Knowing the country of origin is important when choosing seafood. If seafood offers no hint of where it originated, it may be wise to pass it up.

 - Ask your restaurant owner to offer sustainable and locally sourced seafood. Questions from savvy diners will send a message to chefs and management about  consumer preferences.

 - Try new kinds of fish and seafood. You may find a new favorite. Many fish markets and  other stores have begun carrying non-traditional fish and seafood, many of which  are delicious and healthy. When available, mackerel, herring, and pacific sardines are excellent choices with good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.   

 - Support sustainable fishing. Sustainable fishing practices protect future supplies of fish which is good for people whose livelihood depends on fish as well as being good for eco-systems.

 - Learn more about seafood and aquaculture, including issues concerning health, nutrition, sustainability, locally sourced products and how to safely handle and cook seafood.

While these habits may seem time consuming, the results are worth it. Seafood is known for its wonderful flavor, health benefits and popularity as a meal choice. To learn more about sustainability issues, see this article on sustainable seafood.

Friday, July 23, 2010

USDA Breeds Sterile Trout and Salmon for Aquaculture

Fast-growing farm-raised salmon and trout that are sterile can now be produced using a method developed by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists. Blocking reproduction can enhance growth, and is important for fish being reared in situations where reproduction is undesirable.

Bigger fish for consumers and sterile fish for producers and anglers are the goals of ARS scientists who are working with the aquaculture industry on genetic methods to more efficiently produce fish that grow faster on less feed and can't reproduce in the wild.

According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, scientists have made improvements studies are expanding to include to Atlantic salmon, brook trout and brown trout. Experiments involving these species could determine whether sterile fish offer improved production traits such as growth to market size, stress tolerance, and disease resistance.

source: USDA Agricultural Research Service

Monday, July 19, 2010

How to Cook Crawfish

To prepare live crawfish for the table, wash in cool, clean water. Discard any dead or non-responsive individuals. After washing, the crawfish can be blanched in boiling water for about five minutes.

Boiling cooks the meat, kills bacteria and turns the crawfish a brilliant red color. Crawfish can also be steamed, although the process takes longer than boiling.

Once cooked, crawfish may be served hot or cold. The meat is removed from the claws and tail and eaten as is or used in gumbo, etouffee and other dishes.

Crawfish boils and festivals are a popular tradition in Louisiana and other southern states.

Friend of the Sea Certifies Leal Santos Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna

Friend of the Sea has announced the certification of Skipjack and Yellowfin tuna from Indústrias Alimentícias Leal Santos Ltda which is part of ACTEMSA, a Spanish canning group.

By using rod and live bait to catch tuna, one of the lowest environmental impact methods, Leal Santos does not risk over exploiting stocks or generating by catch.

The Friend of the Sea certification will highlight the environmental value of the tuna origin.

source: Friend of the Sea

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MSC Traceability Program Forensic Techniques

Independent DNA tests on 240 random samples have shown that MSC certified fish continues to perform well in traceability tests. All of the samples showed that they came from the fish labelled on the pack and none of the products was mislabelled. These early results establish DNA analysis as a valuable tool in combating the fraudulent use of ecolabels. As a result, the MSC plans to expand the testing of species later this year.

The first DNA tests were developed for three species: Alaska salmon (Oncorhynchus sp.), Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) and South Georgia toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides).  Scientists took reference samples of these three species from MSC certified fisheries and analysed their DNA profiles.  The team took samples from MSC-labelled products sold in four key markets (the USA, the UK, Germany and Japan) and compared their DNA profiles with those of the reference samples.  All were found to be the species declared on the pack.

The next phase of the DNA testing program will assess more products containing Alaska salmon, Alaska pollock and South Georgia toothfish, and develop tests for a further four fish species: Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), hake (Merluccius paradoxus and M. capensis), hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae)and herring (Clupea harengus).

source: MSC

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MSC Certifies PFA Atlanto Scandian Herring

The Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) Atlanto Scandian herring fishery has secured certification against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries.

The MSC assessment took just 8 months. The Atlanto Scandian herring fishery is PFA's third fishery to achieve MSC certification. Its North Sea herring and North East Atlantic mackerel fisheries were certified in 2006 and in 2009.

Around 41,000 metric tonnes of Atlanto Scandian herring caught annually will now be eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel.

For more information, please visit www.msc.org

Friday, July 2, 2010

U.S. Shellfish Exports to Europe May End on July 1

Beginning July 1, 2010, a European Commission Regulation allowing import of live and fresh molluscan shellfish and certain marine invertebrates from the U.S. will expire. This is expected to halt the import of these products into the European Union (EU) at that time.

The Regulation includes live and fresh bivalve mollusks, echinoderms, tunicates, and marine gastropods from all U.S. states. Shellfish from the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are already not allowed into the EU for other reasons. Wild scallop meats, fresh or frozen, will be allowed entry; whole scallops or scallop adductor muscles with the roe attached will not be allowed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union have been in discussion about the reciprocal equivalence between the nations for live mollusks but for now differences have not been resolved.

source: FDA press release

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Cook Quahog Clams

Quahogs (also known as hard clams) are among the most popular types of American seafood. These delicious shellfish are widely available and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Smaller clams such as littlenecks, topnecks and cherrystone clams are eaten steamed or on the half shell.

The largest quahogs are called "chowder clams". These are excellent in recipes such as clam fritters and New England clam chowder.

More information:

Quahog Clams
Seafood Steamers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WFOA Launches Albacore Tuna Information Website

The Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) has launched a new Web site dedicated to U.S. troll-caught albacore. WFOA created the site, www.pacificalbacore.com, along with other marketing efforts, will increase the domestic market for local tuna.

In March of 2010, the fishery earned the Marine Stewardship Council blue label certification as a sustainable fishery.

"Sustainable fish and local food are hot topics rights now," said WFOA Director Wayne Heikkila. "People are visiting their local markets looking for sustainably caught fish.....We want to encourage local people to try this delicious, heart-healthy fish."

The site offers information on the history of the Pacific Northwest fishery, nutrition, cooking tips, recipes, news and how and where to buy albacore.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Lakes Whitefish

Historically, whitefish were an important food fish to Great Lakes communities. Their popularity as table fare continues today. Whitefish is also high in omega-3 fish oils.

In blind taste tests performed at Michigan State University, tasters chose Great Lakes whitefish 2 to 1 over comparable whitefish harvested from inland lakes in Canada.

Many restaurants throughout the region have chosen to use Great Lakes whitefish exclusively for everything from basic fish sandwiches to high-end cuisine.

Great Lakes Whitefish Sandwich Recipe

(2) 8 oz. fillets Great Lakes Whitefish, thawed
White or whole-wheat bakery buns
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing, regular or fat-free
Herbs to taste: Try basil, thyme, tarragon, dill or a blend
Iceberg or leaf lettuce
Tomato slices (optional)

Grill, broil, bake, or fry the fillets (see Preparation Tips). Split buns and warm in a toaster oven or microwave.

Mix your choice of herbs with the mayo. When fish is done, cut to fit buns. Arrange fish pieces on buns and top with herbed mayo, lettuce and tomato.

recipe source: www.greatlakeswhitefish.com

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Galveston Bay Oyster Reef Restoration

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries Division and commercial oyster fishermen are working together to restore about 2,000 acres of oyster reefs damaged by Hurricane Ike. About 8,000 acres of the bays reefs were smothered by sediment deposits when Hurricane Ike made landfall in September 2008.

About 180 fishermen have signed on to assist in restoration efforts taking place during the next couple of months.  Fishermen are being hired to use their boats and fishing gear to pull dead shell out of the sediment, thereby providing a surface for oyster larvae to attach and grow.

Re-exposing the buried shell will provide the hard substrate oyster larvae require.  It will take 18 to 24 months for newly settled oysters to reach a legal size of three inches.

Funding for this project comes from a federal fisheries disaster grant to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the National Marine Fisheries Service.

source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Aker BioMarine Krill Fishery Gains MSC Certification

The Aker BioMarine krill (Euphausia superba) fishery has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification following a rigorous, independent assessment against the MSC standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries.

Products from this Antarctic based fishery are now eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel, identifying their origin from a sustainable source. Only products that originate from the Aker BioMarine fishery are eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel.

The Aker BioMarine krill fishery operates in the Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean. The management of all fishing activity in the Antarctic is overseen by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) established in 1982 to protect and manage the extensive marine resources of Antarctica.

At current levels, fishing pressure on krill is very low – less than one per cent of the most recent estimated biomass (estimated by CCAMLR to be 37 million tonnes).  Aker BioMarine catches between 40,000 and 50,000 tonnes annually, from a total allowable catch of approximately 3.5 million tonnes.

source: MSC press release

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Salmon Gains Popularity in U.K.

Researchers report that 48% grocery shoppers bought fresh salmon during 2009. Fresh salmon now accounts for over £1 in every £5 spent on fish in the UK.

The release of the new figures coincides with the publication of the Annual Report from Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), which highlights the industry’s contribution to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of Scotland.

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of SSPO, said:  "As the UK continues to be our most important market, we welcome the leap in popularity of fresh salmon.

"Historically, seafood consumption in the UK is much lower than in many other nations. However, fresh salmon is increasingly catching the attention of our palates."

Scotland is the third largest salmon producer in the world with approximately a 10% global market share

For further information, visit www.scottishsalmon.co.uk

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buying and Cooking American Lobsters

Among the most famous types of seafood is the American lobster, also known as Maine or northern lobster. This species is found from Newfoundland Canada south to North Carolina and is abundant in Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut. These delicious shellfish are important to the Canada seafood sector and is an icon of New England seafood.

Lobsters shed their shells many times before reaching market size, which takes 5 to 7 years. Hard-shelled lobsters are sought after for live tanks which are popular in USA seafood markets.

A lobster that has shed its shell has less meat inside than a hard-shell of the same size, which tends to lower prices for soft-shell lobsters. Although there is less meat in a soft-shelled individual, some people prefer the taste of soft-shell lobster meat, considering it to be sweeter and more tender.

Lobsters are simple to cook and process. Their claws and tail contain the most meat but a small amount can be also be found in the legs and body.

In North America, lobsters are often served whole; boiled or steamed. Lobster meat is served in a variety of ways such as salads, bisques or other dishes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

SSA Calls on Australian Governments to Promote Seafood Consumption

Australian Governments have been urged to encourage greater consumption of seafood to avoid a looming "epidemic" of mental ill health and other brain disorders.

This follows a warning from the world’s foremost authorities in neuroscience and nutrition, meeting in London recently, that western nations will suffer "unthinkable health, social and fiscal consequences” unless they increase consumption of DHA, an Omega-3 oil found most abundantly in seafood.

Mr Ted Loveday, Managing Director of Seafood Services Australia (SSA), said Australian Governments should heed the message from the London meeting and encourage greater consumption of seafood.

"One of SSA’s tasks is to help make Australians aware of the vital contribution fish and other seafood makes to good health," Mr Loveday said. "Scientists at the London conference want a return to what they term ‘traditional fish and seafood consumption’ to improve human health.

According to the health expert, "Humans evolved with high levels of consumption of fish and other seafood, and today we still require many of the nutrients they contain," he said. "The Omega-3 oils, or ‘fish oils’, are the best known but seafood contains a package of very important nutrients, such as iodine, selenium, zinc, copper and iron, all important for good health, especially brain health."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Florida Seafood Hotline

Seafood lovers who are confused about the availability of Florida seafood products due to the Gulf oil spill can now get daily updates about the ongoing commercial harvest.  The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has implemented a new toll-free hotline at 1-800-357-4273 to provide consumers with current information about the status of Florida's open and closed fishing harvest areas, the availability of seafood varieties, and general pricing information.

The information that is available by calling the hotline will also be posted online at the Department's seafood web site www.fl-seafood.com where consumers can also find links to other pertinent web sites including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Webcams placed at various coastal locations and in retail establishments will be added to the web site later. 

source: FDACS

Monday, June 7, 2010

What is Lox?

Lox is thin sliced salmon that has been cured and usually cold smoked. Cold smoking does not cook the fish, resulting in its characteristic smooth texture similar to the raw product. Lox is traditionally served on bagels or toast with cream cheese or other toppings.

There are several types of lox:

Belly lox is brined in a solution of water, salt, sometimes sugars and spices. This technique is called "wet brining". After brining, the fish is cold smoked.

Nova or Nova Scotia lox is similar to regular lox, but cured with a milder brine and cold smoked. The name originates from a time when New York imported the bulk of salmon from Nova Scotia. The name refers to the milder brine, as compared to regular lox. This process is not limited to fish from Nova Scotia.

Scottish lox uses a mixture of salt and sometimes sugars, spices and other flavorings are applied directly to the meat of the fish. This process is called "dry brining" or "Scottish style". The brine mixture is left on for a period of time. After rinsing, the fish is cold smoked.

Scandinavian or Nordic lox is another type of salt cured and cold smoked salmon.

Gravad lox, Gravad lax or Gravlax is a traditional Scandinavian means of preparing lox (salmon). Gravad lox is not smoked. The salmon is coated with a spice mixture, which may include dill, sugars, and juniper berry. It is then weighted down to force the moisture from the fish and enhance its flavor.

Salmon Information

Types of Smoked Salmon 

Buy Smoked Salmon online

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stuffed Shrimp Recipe

This is a simple recipe that combines jumbo shrimp and blue crab meat from the Atlantic Coast. Locally sourced jumbo shrimp and blue crabs are available seasonally in states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

For seafood enthusiasts living outside local harvesting areas, jumbo shrimp and lump backfin crab meat is available frozen from a variety of sources.


2 lbs fresh wild caught jumbo shrimp
1 lb Atlantic blue crab meat
1 egg
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crab seasoning
1 lemon (juice and pulp only)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Line a casserole dish with olive oil and place shrimp inside.
2. Mix egg, melted butter, mayonnaise, crab seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and onion.
3. Blend in crab meat.
4. Spread mixture over shrimp and bake at 400 for 5 minutes, until juices begin to boil.
5. Move to Broiler; cook until stuffing begins to brown lightly.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

MSC Certifies Eastern Canada Offshore Lobster

The Eastern Canada offshore lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery operating within the Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the eastern seaboard of Canada has earned Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification having been independently assessed and found to be sustainable and well-managed.  Products from the Eastern Canada offshore lobster fishery will now be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

source: MSC

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Energy Use in Fisheries Network

The Energy Use in Fisheries Network is intended to serve as a professional forum for commercial and recreational fishermen, processors, engineers, boat and engine developers, aquaculturists, fisheries managers, administrators, scientists, and others from around the world to share relevant resources and information to address the direct and indirect effects of energy costs related to fisheries.

In addition to facilitating discussion and networking, the network is intended to serve as a clearinghouse of information on relevant publications, conferences, links, and funding opportunities.

To learn more, visit: http://energyefficientfisheries.ning.com/

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

North Carolina Seafood Landings Down Slightly in 2009

North Carolina’s decreased harvest in shrimp and crabs dropped commercial dockside seafood sales by 4 percent in 2009, according to an annual landings report produced by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Total commercial landings were at 68.6 million pounds in 2009, which was 2.5 million pounds lower than in 2008. The total value of commercial landings also dropped from $86.8 million to $77 million.

The most notable decrease in commercial landings came in shrimp harvests, which dropped by 43 percent from 2008 to 5.4 million pounds in 2009. This decline contributed to a 7.3 million-pound drop in overall shellfish harvests.

“Both our summer and fall shrimp landings were down from previous years,” said Rich Carpenter, the division’s Southeast District manager. “Environmental conditions, such as rainfall, greatly affect the abundance of shrimp in any given season. Market conditions and the price of gasoline also play key roles in the amount of shrimp brought to the docks. ”

Commercial finfish harvests, however, increased 17 percent from 2008 to 32.3 million pounds in 2009.

The most notable increase in commercial finfish landings was with spiny dogfish, which jumped 792 percent to 1.3 million pounds in 2009 due to a quota increase. Bluefish landings increased 22 percent to 2.3 million pounds.

Blue crab continued to top the list of species harvested commercially in the state, with 28.8 million pounds landed in 2009, followed by croaker at 6.1 million pounds, shrimp, summer flounder, at 2.9 million pounds and southern flounder, at 2.4 million pounds.

The report can be downloaded from the division website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/download/2009AnnualNC_FisheriesBulletin.pdf.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

National Seafood Marketing Coalition to Form Regional Marketing Boards

A National Seafood Marketing Coalition is forming and holding informational meetings with fishermen, processors, and other seafood industry groups across the U.S., seeking support for the creation of a national seafood marketing program administered by Regional Marketing Boards and funded by U.S. duties on imported seafood. 

The basic idea is to invest a portion of the duties on imported seafood into the marketing of U.S. seafood.  Broad and sustained marketing over time will grow demand for seafood, increase its value, grow the economy, increase jobs related both directly and indirectly to the industry, and increase tax revenues across local, regional, state and federal levels. 

The idea was initiated by the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and is getting good support from around the USA. Other groups have joined with UFA in actively promoting the concept and are helping with the outreach.

Nine Regional Seafood Marketing Boards are to be established in order to include all U.S. seafood producers which would include mariculture and aquaculture. Eight boards would mirror the 8 Regional Fishery Management Councils authorized by the Magnuson‐Stevens Act. The 9th Board would represent inland domestic seafood production. Marketing activities of each Board would be directed toward seafood caught or products produced in each region.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Florida Stone Crab Claw Season Ending

The season for harvest, possession and sale of stone crab claws in Florida closes May 16, 2010. This closure occurs each year to help protect and sustain Florida's valuable stone crab resource. Florida's stone crab season will reopen October 15, 2010.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Organizations Speak Out on Safety of Gulf of Mexico Seafood

As a precaution authorities closed federal fishing waters from the Mississippi River east to the panhandle of Florida for a ten day period, but fishing continues on the west side of the Mississippi River. The closure will be in effect for 10 days, from May 7, 2010, through 12:01 a.m., local time, May 17, 2010, unless conditions allow NOAA Fisheries Service to terminate it sooner. According to the FDA, fish and shellfish harvested from areas unaffected by the closures are considered safe to eat.

“Areas outside the closed area account for more than 2/3 of the Gulf Shrimp production. Seventy percent of the Gulf harvest remains untouched by the oil spill,” said David Veal, Executive Director of the American Shrimp Processors Association. “Hopefully the only impact on the industry will be a slight delay in the opening of the brown shrimp season.” The Gulf shrimp industry produces approximately 180 million of the 1.2 billion pounds of shrimp consumed in the United States.

According to government sources, the FDA, NOAA, EPA, state authorities in the regions affected by the recent oil spill and other authorities are monitoring the situation.

The FDA states that "Although crude oil has the potential to taint seafood with flavors and odors caused by exposure to hydrocarbon chemicals, the public should not be concerned about the safety of seafood in stores at this time. There is no reason to believe that any contaminated product has made its way to the market."

Federal and state officials have announced monitoring efforts for the waters from which Gulf coast seafood is harvested. NOAA has the authority to close Federal waters to commercial fishing and states have the authority to close waters within the state 3-mile limit. If adulterated seafood is found on the market, both the FDA and the states have the authority to seize such product and remove it from the food supply.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Louisiania Food Banks Seek Donations

The Louisiana Department of Social Services is encouraging Louisianians to donate canned and non-perishable food items to area food banks, who will help distribute the items to fishermen, families and others who find themselves in need.

"For many Louisiana citizens who earn their living from the Gulf and coastal waters, this tragedy comes at the worst time," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Many fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen earn the bulk of their incomes during short seasons of the year and are unable to work because of the current situation."

To quickly respond to the needs of individuals and families along the coastline, DSS is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana to collect and distribute goods to those in need. Second Harvest accepts donations of canned and non-perishable food at 700 Edwards Avenue in New Orleans.

Suggested food donations include:

    * peanut butter
    * soups / stews
    * canned fruits / vegetables
    * canned meats (chicken, beef, ham)
    * tuna fish
    * chili
    * cereal
    * hot cereals (grits, oatmeal)
    * beans
    * juice
    * rice
    * pasta
    * shelf stable milk

Additionally, Second Harvest accepts monetary donations. You can give securely on the Second Harvest website, no-hunger.org, by phone at (504) 729-2858, or by mail at Second Harvest Food Bank, Greater New Orleans & Acadiana, 700 Edwards Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70123.

Annually, Second Harvest feeds approximately 262,800 people across 23 south Louisiana parishes.

For more on the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico disaster and ways to help, visit this BP Horizon Deepwater Oil Spill page.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Louisiana Closes Fishing Areas and Oyster Beds

On April 30, 2010, the Louisiana departments of Health and Hospitals, and Wildlife and Fisheries, announced they will be closing select fishing areas and oyster harvesting beds as a precautionary response to the oil spill in the Gulf.

"I signed this emergency closure today as a proactive effort to prevent any oil-tainted fish, shrimp or crab from being caught and thus consumed," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.

The oyster closure order will take effect at sunset today, Friday, April 30, 2010. DHH and LDWF, the state's oyster harvesters and the Louisiana Oyster Task Force are cooperating to ensure the safety of oysters taken from areas currently not affected by the spill.

"Oysters that are still coming out of the many unaffected beds across the Louisiana coast are being watched closely," Dr. Guidry said. "All of the beds that remain open are safe."

Updates on any further closures or changes in the status of areas closed will be posted at emergency.louisiana.gov.

For more information, visit:

2010 Friend of the Sea Awards at Brussels Seafood Expo

At the Brussels Seafood Expo, Friend of the Sea handed out awards to 3 most deserving fisheries and aquaculture companies and associations.

Lee Fish Group / Leigh Fisheries NZ was awarded the prize for its social and environmental engagement, evidenced by its initiatives in collaboration and partnership with the Maori Maoridum through Ngati Whatua, Whaingaroa and other Iwi groups  and its New Zealand mixed fishery.

The Noordzee Vissers Consortium was recognized for its sustainable Dover Sole horizontal gillnets fishery, causing no impact on the seabed, operating in a fuel efficient way and with optimal juveniles and by-catch reduction measures.

The Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group was awarded for the natural and environmentally friendly mussels farming of its associated producers. Mussels are naturally collected on ropes and fed on plankton carried by the rich tidal flows. A sustainable and even beneficial way to produce an excellent source of proteins.

source: Friend of the Sea

Saturday, May 1, 2010

International Congress on Seafood Technology

The 2nd International Congress on Seafood Technology (ICST 2010), jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the University of Alaska, will be in Anchorage May 10 - 13 at the Egan Convention Center.

The Congress will bring together scientists, technologists, processors, importers/exporters of fishery products, business developers, government administrators responsible for policy development, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties.

For more information, see:


Thursday, April 29, 2010

April is the Final R Month

April is the last "R" month of the cool season, which traditionally marks the end of fresh wild caught shellfish for many people. Along the Atlantic coast of North America, the spring and summer months mark a change in the types of seafood that are served. While chowders and oyster dishes may be less common, fresh crabs, lobsters and fish will are becoming more common. While the "R" month rule has traditional significance and is still obeyed by millions of seafood lovers, modern seafood operations offer top quality shellfish on a year round basis.

The following links discuss chowders and shellfish that are associated with the months that contain an "r" in their names:

seafood chowder

quahog clams


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Norwegian Cod and Haddock Fisheries Certified by MSC

Norway’s offshore Northeast Arctic (NEA) cod and haddock fisheries have been certified as sustainable under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) environmental standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries. After successfully completing its assessment, MSC-certification for these fisheries was awarded at the European Seafood Expo in Brussels.

Around 125,000 metric tonnes of Norwegian cod and 90,000 metric tonnes of Norwegian haddock will now be eligible to display the blue MSC ecolabel. In addition to its domestic sales, the fish has a global market with fresh and frozen fish being sold in Germany, France and the UK.

source: MSC press release

Monday, April 19, 2010

Iceland Volcano is Searing Salmon Sales

Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption is affecting the seafood industry. In the USA, air travel restrictions have caused price increases or unavailability of specialty items such as imported salmon from areas such as Norway and Scotland.

The plume from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues in April. Volcanic ash has been carried by north-westerly winds and has been detected over Norway, Sweden, northwestern Russia, northern Poland, northern Germany, northern France and southern UK.

The volcanic ash plume has affected flights over much of Europe, causing serious disruptions of business and travel. Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull Volcano began erupting on March 20, 2010.

For more information about Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption, visit http://www.squidoo.com/iceland

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New BC Salmon Aquaculture Website Launched

A grassroots group has launched a new website that calls into question the agenda and credibility of some salmon farming critics in British Columbia, Canada. The website has been developed by Positive Aquaculture Awareness (PAA), a grassroots group of aquaculture workers and suppliers, and provides key facts about salmon aquaculture that are often ignored by well funded environmental groups.

“We are in the business of providing a healthy food for a growing population,” says PAA President, Cory Percevault. “Communication is becoming increasingly important as anti-salmon farming groups have had the ear of the public for far too long now.”

PAA was formed in 1998 to raise awareness of BC’s aquaculture industry and to challenge the myths about salmon farming. The new website provides key facts about aquaculture and questions the information provided by environmental groups, their funding sources and attached agenda. Areas of interest such as sea lice, closed containment and the health of farmed salmon are a key focus of the website.

“Salmon farming employs 6000 British Columbians and it’s important that their voices are heard,” adds Percevault. “The amount of misinformation on our business is shocking and we believe this new website is a good source of credible information on BC aquaculture and encourage those who may have an interest in BC aquaculture to visit this new website.”

The new website can be found at www.FarmFreshSalmon.org

Thursday, April 8, 2010

NOAA to Develop New Aquaculture Policy

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced plans to develop a new national Aquaculture Policy.

As a first step, NOAA is currently seeking broad input on the components of a draft aquaculture policy from interested stakeholders including communities, state and local governments, tribes, businesses, associations, the aquaculture industry, commercial and recreational fishermen, the seafood industry, non-governmental organizations, and the general public.

Stakeholders can participate in three ways - by participating in a listening session, by submitting a comment online, or by participating in a national call-in. The public input period began on April 6 and will end on May 14, 2010.

After the listening sessions are over, NOAA will analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue a new NOAA Aquaculture Policy.

Dates and times of the listening sessions can be found at:


Monday, March 29, 2010

North Pacific Albacore Fisheries Earn MSC Certification

Two North Pacific albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) fisheries operating in U.S., Canadian and international waters have been awarded certification under the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.  Products from the fisheries will now be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognizing seafood from well-managed and sustainable sources.

The Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) troll/jig fishery and the U.S.-based Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) troll/jig and pole/line fisheries were the clients for the assessments which took place simultaneously.  Their tuna fishing vessels operate from the coastal waters of California north to British Columbia and across the North Pacific nearly to the coast of Japan.

The North Pacific albacore tuna fishing season runs from May through October.  The combined catch for these fisheries is between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons.  Preliminary 2009 reports show the British Columbia fleet harvest at about 5,450 metric tons and U.S. troll and pole landings at 11,580 metric tons.   Approximately 60 percent of the tuna from these fisheries goes to Asia and Europe with 10 percent to U.S. canning companies.  The remaining 30 percent is sold into U.S. and Canadian markets for domestic consumption.  Albacore tuna is marketed as fresh, fresh-frozen and canned product with canned product accounting for the majority of the catch.

“Since the beginning of this fishery, members of the Canadian North Pacific albacore tuna industry have strived to carry out and support sustainable fishing practices,” said Lorne Clayton, executive director of the CHMSF.  “Following the development of the CHMSF Quality Assurance Program in 2003, our industry’s considerable efforts toward sustainable fishing have been recognized by such environmental Organizations as Ocean Wise, Sea Choice, and Seafood Watch and we are now proud to have achieved the independent verification, through the MSC, that our CHMSF Pacific Albacore fishery meets the MSC’s rigorous sustainability definition.”

“Having achieved this certification against the MSC’s rigorous standards will assure consumers that they are buying a sustainable seafood product,” said Wayne Heikkila, executive director of WFOA. “Members of the Western Fishboat Owners Association have long known that this was a sustainably managed fishery but having it successfully reviewed by a third party against the certification standard now provides us a great opportunity to promote our albacore tuna to local consumers as MSC certified.”

“Market demand for MSC-certified tuna is high,” said Kerry Coughlin, the Americas regional director for MSC.  “Successful completion of the assessment process by these two fisheries will be welcome news to buyers committed to sourcing from fisheries that meet the MSC standard.   We congratulate CHMSF and WFOA on their certification and commitment to sustainability.”

The independent, third-party full assessments were conducted by Global Trust Certification.  The fisheries were assessed against the three principles of the MSC standard: the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem and the management system overseeing the fishery. As with all MSC-certified fisheries, these fisheries will undergo annual surveillance audits. More information about the North Pacific albacore tuna fisheries can be found on the MSC’s website in the Track a Fishery section at www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/certified.

source: MSC press release

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Public Sessions to Guide Drafting of New Aquaculture Policy

NOAA will hold six listening sessions in April and May to hear recommendations from the public that will help the agency develop a new national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture.

Dates for the listening sessions with NOAA officials are as follows:

April 14 in Narragansett, R.I.

April 19 in New Orleans, La.

April 22 in Seattle

April 27 in Honolulu

April 29 in Menlo Park, Calif.

May 6 a national call-in hosted by NOAA on a toll-free line

Details on the specific locations and times for the regional listening sessions and instructions for submitting comments electronically will be posted on the NOAA Aquaculture Program Web site http://aquaculture.noaa.gov. The agency also will accept public comment through the Web.

After the listening sessions, NOAA will analyze the public input and develop a draft national policy for review and public comment. Once that process is complete, the agency will issue the new NOAA aquaculture policy. NOAA’s goal is to issue a new national policy that will enable sustainable marine aquaculture within the context of the agency’s multiple ocean stewardship missions and broader social and economic goals.

source: NOAA press release