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: