Friday, November 2, 2012

Where Do Dungeness Crabs Come From?

The Dungeness crab is one of North America's most popular crustaceans. This large, sweet tasting crab is often found in seafood markets and other food outlets.

Dungeness crabs are caught along the Pacific Coast of North America. They generally prefer cooler waters and are uncommon south of Point Conception, California. Dungeness crabs are usually found on sandy or muddy bottoms at depths of 300 feet or less.

The Dungeness is an important catch for U.S. Pacific Coast commercial fishermen. 2011 Dungeness crab landings exceeded 67.4 million pounds worth more than $185 million.

In some areas, Dungeness crabs are caught recreationally with crab pots (or traps), loop traps, and hoop nets.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2011 USA Seafood Consumption

According to NOAA's report, entitled Fisheries of the United States 2011, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 10.1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2011, valued at $5.3 billion.

Total U.S. seafood landings increased by 1.9 billion pounds and more than $784 million over 2010 levels, mainly due to higher catches of Gulf menhaden, Alaska pollock, and Pacific hake (whiting).

Gulf shrimp landings rose 20 percent, from 176 million pounds valued at $338 million in 2010 to 212 million pounds valued at $418 million in 2011.

Americans consumed 4.7 billion pounds of seafood in 2011. Around 91 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. was imported, up five percent from 2010. The top three imported seafood products are shrimp, canned tuna, and tilapia fillets.

The report contains valuable data regarding U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries by species, productivity by fishing port, USA annual seafood consumption statistics, and other information.

source: NOAA Fisheries

Monday, August 20, 2012

Maryland Seafood Marketing Logo Contest Winner

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently unveiled the new logo for its Seafood Marketing Program. The winning design, created by John Snyder of Baltimore, will be used to in seafood marketing promotions throughout the State.

Earlier this summer, DNR’s Seafood Marketing Program held a logo contest in search of a new emblem that would showcase the Chesapeake Bay’s bounty. The Seafood Marketing Advisory Commission, responsible for choosing a winner, decided on Snyder’s design from the more than 75 submissions.

Snyder and four of his friends will enjoy a Chesapeake Bay Charter trip where they will choose to harvest one three types of Maryland seafood: blue crab, striped bass, or oyster.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Species

Several species of warmwater (penaeid) shrimp are found in Gulf of Mexico, including white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus),  pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum), royal red shrimp (Pleoticus robustus or Hymenopenaeus robustus) and rock shrimp (Sicyonia brevirostris).

Gulf shrimp are harvested from Florida to Texas. According to NOAA's Fisheries Economics of the United States 2009, Gulf of Mexico shrimpers averaged $409 million in landings revenue from 2000 to 2009.

During the period, shrimp was the most valuable catch for fishermen in Alabama, West Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Lousiana fishermen landed the most shrimp, exceeding 100 million pounds annually. Declines of gulf shrimp landings and values during the period were due to falling ex-vessel prices.

Roughly 68 percent of of the shrimp harvested in the USA comes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crayfish Holding Tanks

After harvesting their catch, some crayfish harvesters prefer to hold crawfish for a few days. Confinement is done to clean and purge these tiny shellfish before cooking. Bait tanks or other containment systems are also used to keep a constant supply of crayfish for fishing bait.

When maintaining populations of live crayfish, a number of challenges are likely to be encountered. Cannibalism can be a major problem when quantities of individuals are confined together. Although cannibalism cannot be eliminated, the behavior can be minimized through a number of practices.

Access to food and shelter appear to help curb cannibalism, as do habitats that keep crayfish active. In addition to cannibalism, crayfish are subject to predation from birds, raccoons, and other wildlife. When crayfish are kept outside, these threats can be a serious problem.

Water quality can be an issue, especially during hot weather. To minimize mortality, crayfish tanks must be kept clean and the water changed often. Most closed systems require frequent maintenance in order to perform correctly.

One of the simplest systems for keeping crayfish alive can be rigged by equipping a large cooler with a few additional components. A small garden fountain pump can be added to circulate water. If possible shelter should also be added to a crayfish storage tank. Objects such as oyster shells, whelk shells, stones, or pottery make suitable shelters for crayfish.

When holding crayfish, the decision to feed or not is usually based on the intended use. If the intent is to purge crayfish briefly before cooking, feeding may not be necessary. In other cases, it may be desirable to feed crayfish every day or two in order to maintain peak condition. Popular foods include corn, rice, or small amounts of plant vegetation.

As an alternative to bait tanks or other closed containers, some enthusiasts store crayfish in pens or cages which are located in nearby ponds or creeks. As with bait tanks, these storage methods are subject to problems such as cannibalism, outside predation, and water quality fluctuations. Crayfish pens cages should be located out of direct sunlight when possible.

Despite their challenges, crayfish holding setups can be extremely useful on a small scale. They can provide a reliable source of fishing bait as well as fresh crayfish for the table. Tanks, pens, and other systems can also be used for storing baitfish or other aquatic life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maine Lobster Facts

The Maine lobster, also known as American lobster, is one of North America's most popular seafood delicacies. This delicious crustacean is caught in Canada as well as the United States.

The following are a few Maine lobster facts:

Although it is often called "Maine lobster", the species occurs in American waters from Maine through North Carolina.

Maine lobsters are solitary and territorial by nature, often laying claim to a burrow or crevice for protection. Although they move within their habitat, adult lobsters usually remain within a home range of about 5-10 square km. Large adults often live in deep ocean water but make seasonal migrations inshore to reproduce.

Maine lobsters molt 10 times in their first year, reaching lengths of 1 -1.5 inches. Lobsters can grow back new claws, legs and antennae. A lobster that has lost 1 claw is called a cull. One that has lost 2 claws is called a bullet.

The largest known Maine lobster weighed a whopping 44 pounds. Scientists have not discovered an accurate method for measuring the exact age of Maine lobsters. Based on growth estimates, biologists believe that some lobsters live for nearly 100 years.

The American (Maine) lobster fishery, with an ex-vessel value of nearly $400 million in 2010, ranks as one of the most value Atlantic coast fisheries. Maine's lobster landings make up almost 80% of the value of the U.S. fishery.

The vast majority of Maine lobsters are caught in lobster pots. A small percentage of overall landings are caught by trawling. SCUBA divers sometimes catch Maine lobsters by hand.

In the USA, Maine lobsters are managed regionally by the ASMFC American Lobster Management Board. The board regulates three distinct stocks, including Gulf of Maine (GOM), Georges Bank (GBK), and Southern New England (SNE).

Friday, April 6, 2012

NOAA Seafood Marketing Studies

Two new NOAA Sea Grant studies will look at how new business models, based on the success of community supported agriculture, could benefit fishing communities in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Barbara Walker, Ph.D., a cultural geographer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will lead a study of community-supported fisheries and other direct-marketing programs in Washington, as well as North Carolina and South Carolina. The emphasis will be on helping fishermen learn about direct marketing and identify approaches that might be appropriate for the local fisheries and consumer base.

A second Sea Grant-funded project looks at developing higher-value product lines, for example, by delivering fish live, or by smoking, freezing, or otherwise processing product. Ana Pitchon, Ph.D., an assistant professor of anthropology at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles County, and James Hilger, a fisheries resource economist at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in San Diego, will explore what can be done to add value to fish and shellfish landed locally, using four fisheries as case studies; Pacific sardine, Dungeness crab, near-shore live finfish, and spot prawn.

The four West Coast Sea Grant programs selected these two projects, totaling $500,000, through an independent peer-review process. NOAA provided funding through its National Sea Grant College Program.

source: NOAA FishNews

Monday, February 13, 2012

Alaska Salmon Industry to Drop MSC Certification

In January, 2012, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation announced that it had received letters from eight major primary salmon processors advising AFDF they are phasing out their financial support for the Marine Stewardship Council salmon certification program. Collectively the eight processors account for approximately 72% of the Alaska salmon harvest.

The processors will support the MSC program for Alaska salmon only through October of 2012, when the current certificate expires. The eight processors include Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, Alaska General Seafoods, E & E Foods, Kwikpak Fisheries, and North
Pacific Seafoods.

At the salmon industry’s request, AFDF took over the clientship for MSC certification of Alaska salmon in February, 2010. The move came following Alaska Department of Fish and Game's announcement in July of 2008 that they would no longer carry out the duties required of the client.

source: Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation