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