This Week in Seafood: August 12, 2019

This Week in Seafood: August 12, 2019

1. WILD SOCKEYE SALMON IN IDAHO? Yes, that is correct. Last week on August 1, the first of thousands of wild sockeye salmon navigated the Columbia river, then the Snake River, crossing 8 dams (via fish ladders) along the way, and returned to Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho to spawn. They travel over 900 miles and climb upwards of 6500 feet in elevation following their genetic instinct to spawn where they were born. It is quite an amazing feat.

2. HALF OF ALL FARMED RAINBOW TROUT GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO MIGRATE OUT TO THE OCEAN – I was fascinated to learn this week, after a visit from our friends at Evaqua farms in Buhl, Idaho, that half the rainbows in the raceways “turn around and swim downstream” for about three weeks. This simulates them leaving the lake on a trip to the ocean. “Steelheads” are ocean-going rainbows that spend part of their life cycle in the ocean before returning to their home stream to spawn. I guess all rainbow trout are “pre-programmed” to do that!

3. SWORDFISH MARKET VERY TIGHT ON FISH – Canadian fishermen are crying the blues because there are no swordfish to speak of in the waters off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The North Atlantic swordfish population is definitely trending downward and not near as robust as a four or five years ago. Prices are strong. Back home in the US, after two poor years in a row, fewer vessels are targeting swordfish.

4. LARGE SCHOOLS OF SHARKS FOLOWING THE TUNA BOATS IN THE GULF – Tuna fishermen in the Gulf set a 30 mile “longline” with hooks every 40 yards each night and pick it up every morning. That is how they catch yellowfin tuna pretty much year-round. With the resurgent shark population, they have learned to follow the tuna boats and attack the tuna as they come up the line. Can you imagine how upset you would be to have a 100 lb. #1 tuna coming up the line, worth about $700 to the fishermen, only to have a shark come bite it in half next to the boat and now that fish is worth zero!! It’s happening every day down there.

5. PLANT BASED OMEGA 3 OIL GETS FDA APPROVAL!!! – Cargill, the agricultural giant, has developed a plant-based omega-3 oil and received FDA approval. This is a game changing event for aquaculture farmers who will now have access to a sustainable, plant-based source of long chain omega 3 fatty acids for aquafeed. One of the biggest complaints about fish farming is that you “kill fish to grow fish” – meaning that forage fish (sardines, menhaden, capelin) are harvested now and mixed into the salmon feed. Roughly 20% of most salmon feed is made up of “fishmeal” (the other 80% is grain). With the approval of this plant-based omega 3 oil, in the future it will now be possible to grow fish, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, on a total grain diet without the need for fishmeal. FYI – there was an estimated 440 MILLION pounds of fish caught last year, worldwide, just to be used as fishmeal!

6. ICELANDIC COD PRICES GOING UP – Few fishermen have quota remaining. And believe it or not, fishermen go on summer vacations too! All these supply side problems add up to higher prices.

7. SHUCKED WEST COAST GALLONS ARE AN EXTREME VALUE – Are you looking for an alternative to $100 plus gallons of oysters? The savings add up quick at $30 a gallon less! Contact your sales rep today!

8. FRESH MAHI FILLETS MORE THAN #1 TUNA LOINS AGAIN – In the whacky world of seafood, whole mahi are now worth more than #1 tuna – skin-on fillets are a whopping $15 per pound.

9. GULF LONGLINE BOATS PACKING MONDAY & TUESDAY – We should get a good shot of domestic wahoo and mahi in time for Thursday delivery to your restaurants. These species are a by-catch when the boats are targeting yellowfin tuna. Check with your sales rep on Tuesday for more detail.

10. Sassanian Royal Osetra on sale!!   Item # 280020 $49 Large firm amber colored pearls with a smooth nutty flavor.  Preserved with the classic Russian “Malossol” method (literally translating to little salt).  Thus, producing a fresh, preservative free, high quality product.  Normally $52/ounce.

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