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

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