Wednesday, November 20, 2013

National Oyster Cook-off 2013

The National Oyster Cook-off was held on October 19 in Leonardtown, Maryland. The annual event is held in conjunction with the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival and the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship. More than 15,000 visitors attended the two-day festival which featured rows of vendors offering oyster fare and oyster-themed items.

Fifty chefs from as far away as Oregon entered recipes for consideration in the contest, open to cooks of all skill levels. Of those, nine were selected to attend the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival, where they competed before a panel of judges.

The judges picked one winner in each of the three categories - hors d’oeuvre, soup/stew and main dish - based on taste and creativity. Reynolds won the overall prize of $1,000, an engraved silver tray and the national title. The other category winners took home cash prizes, ranging from $150 to $300.

Debbie Reynolds of Waldorf took took first place in the main dish category and won the overall grand prize with her Oyster and Chipotle Grits recipe.

Marty Hyson of Millersville won the hors d’oeuvre honor with his Grilled Oyster Reggiano. Winning both soup/stew and People’s Choice was Robert Johnson of Bushwood with his Merchant Mariner Oyster Rockefeller Chowder. Ronna Farley of Rockville earned the Best Presentation Award with her Crispy Oyster and Red Pepper Salsa Bruschetta.

The Oyster Cook-off is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Seafood Marketing Program, the Rotary Club of Lexington Park and the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development. Proceeds from the event go to local charities, educational scholarships, assistance grants, and Rotary International projects.

For more information on the National Oyster Cook-off, visit

source: MD DNR

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2012 USA Seafood Consumption

Americans consumed 4.5 billion pounds of seafood in 2012, according to Fisheries of the United States 2012, an annual report from NOAA Fisheries.

On average, Americans enjoyed 14.4 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012. Average consumption was down four percent from 15.0 pounds in 2011.

According to the report, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012, valued at $5.1 billion.

source: NOAA Fisheries

Friday, October 11, 2013

North Carolina Oyster Consumption Guidelines

With oyster season beginning October 15 in North Carolina, the State's Division of Marine Fisheries has released guidelines for consumers regarding shellfish consumption.

The following tips concerning to oysters and clams are from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries:
 -  Only purchase shellfish from reputable dealers, retailers, grocers, markets or restaurants. It is illegal for shellfish harvesters to sell directly to the public unless they are also certified shellfish dealers. These licensed dealers are inspected and required to keep shellfish under refrigeration and keep sanitation records.

 - Ask to see the shellfish tag before you purchase. By law, the shellfish tag must be removed at the last point of sale and kept on file for tracking purposes, but consumers can always ask to see the tag to look at when the shellfish were harvested and what area they are from. For the best quality, shellfish should be consumed within seven days of harvest.

 - Keep oysters and clams refrigerated until you are ready to cook and eat them. Shellfish need to be kept at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth.

 - Store shellfish away from other contaminants. Shellfish are living animals when you purchase them, so they can become contaminated by placing them on wet floors, splashing them with dirty water or dripping raw fish and other foods.

 - Thoroughly wash shellfish prior to cooking. Remove all mud and dirt from the outside of the shellfish, using water and a stiff brush.

 - Prior to cooking or raw consumption, discard any dead shellfish. Dead shellfish will have slightly gaping shells that will not close when tapped.

For more information about Vibrios, see the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ website at

source: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Florida Spiny Lobster Seasons

The 2013 Florida commercial and recreational lobster season starts Aug. 6 and runs through March 31. Regular spiny lobster  lobster harvesting is preceded by a two-day spiny lobster recreational season July 24 and 25.

The two-day sport season occurs on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July each year (July 24 and 25, 2013). Commercial fishermen may begin putting their traps in the water Aug. 1, and recreational and commercial fishermen may harvest spiny lobsters starting Aug. 6.

source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kodiak Alaska Fish Smoking Workshop

Smoking Fish for Fun and Profit is back by popular demand. Scheduled for September 4–6, 2013, the Kodiak workshop is for anyone interested in smoking and salting fish, including home fish-smoking enthusiasts, small smokehouse operators, fishermen who want to direct market fish, and commercial operators.

The workshop offers lectures and hands-on activities led by Alexandra Oliveira, University of Alaska Fairbanks seafood scientist at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Faculty members Brian Himelbloom and Brennan Smith, and Sun'aq Tribal Enterprises CEO Chris Sannito, will also teach at the workshop.

Topics are the principles of fish smoking, safety of smoked products, preparation of fish sausage, salting and drying, brining, filleting sockeye for curing and cold smoking, and hot-smoking chum, coho, and black cod.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Abundance

According to a recent study, Chesapeake Bay blue crab harvests could be down in 2013. The latest Chesapeake Bay winter dredge survey, overall abundance of blue crabs dropped from 765 million to 300 million crabs.

Juvenile crab counts fell from 581 million to 111 million. The female population was estimated at 147 million, well above the minimum established threshold of 70 million.

Poor reproduction in 2013 and high mortality among 2012 year-class crabs may have led to the decline of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland, Virginia, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) said to be drafting new regulations that will reduce the harvest of female crabs by approximately 10 percent in response to the decline.

The Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey samples blue crab numbers at 1,500 sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Marine Resources Commission