This week in Seafood: August 26, 2019

This week in Seafood: August 26, 2019

1. GREENLAND ICE SHEET IS MELTING FAST – This little country of only 55,000 people has been in the news lately so I did some reading on the Greenland Ice sheet. It covers 80% of the surface area of the country, 1500 miles long and 680 miles wide, with an average thickness of 7500 feet!!! It is second largest ice sheet on the planet with Antarctica being the largest. If the ice sheet melted completely the sea level would rise 24 FEET!!! We can build ocean front condos in Frederick, Maryland!!!

2. HEAT STRESS KILLING ALASKAN WILD SALMON IN LARGE NUMBERS – On July 7, a large salmon stream on the west side of Cook Inlet Alaska registered a water temp of 81.7 degrees. This is but one example of many heat records broken across Alaska this summer. Scientists have observed die-offs of sockeyes, chums and pinks in the Yukon and other major river systems. The fish are dying with bellies full of healthy eggs. The salmon just couldn’t physically (because hot water holds less oxygen than cooler water) make it upstream with the water that hot.

3. JUMBO ROCKFISH PRICING ENTERING THE THEATER OF THE ABSURD ($20/lb. fillets) – We are paying as much for jumbo rockfish out of Massachusetts this week as we are for Alaskan Halibut!!! Jumbo rock fillets are $20 per pound – that is a record for Congressional Seafood, and not a good one. We will have some local smaller (2/4 & 5/8) Chesapeake rock for a lot less money.

4. FALL LIKE WEATHER HAS FISH BREATHING EASIER – Last Thursday, the Bay water temperature in the mouth of the Chester River was 84 degrees. Sunday morning it was 76 degrees. Cooler water can hold more dissolved oxygen so the rockfish are not gasping for air like they were a week ago. It (the temperature drop) will also trigger a feeding response as these fish start readying (getting fatter) for winter.

5. A PLETHERA OF FRESH CRABMEAT AVAILABLE – As we wind down the last few days of fresh HPP Venezuelan jumbo (Thursday will be the last day of availability until the end of October), our selection of fresh picked crabmeat from a variety of areas has never been more diverse. Of course, we have local Maryland meat that is looking awesome, and fresh Carolina meat picked from Pamlico Sound crabs. But we also have meat from Sopchoppy Florida (Anne Sanders) and Bayou la Batre, Alabama.

6. WILD KING SALMON ARE AN EXTREME VALUE THIS WEEK – Every once in a great while the wild king market collapses and they sell for almost the same money as the other species. These wild kings are from Victoria region of British Columbia. This is a great item to put on special this week and weekend.

7. FEWER BOATS TARGETING SWORDFISH IN THE US & CANADA – With the North Atlantic sword population on the decline over the last 4 years, boats captains are getting out of the longline sword business because it is no longer economically viable for many boats. We rarely think of it in these terms but just to go attempt to go catch swordfish, these boats must spend $15-$20,000 for each trip (fuel, ice, bait, food, hooks etc.). A busted trip or two, combined with a price collapse at the wrong time can put these guys out of business.

8. LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL DAYBOAT NOVA SCOTIA HALIBUT THIS WEEK – Some spectacular quality fish expected all week – this is another great item to feature this week.

9. EASTERN SHORE HARDSHELL CLAM SUPPLY IN CRITICAL CONDITION – Due to excessive rains and lack of salinity this year, littlenecks & midnecks are not growing and production volume is down 40% from most aquaculture clam farms on the Delmarva peninsula. When you look around and source clams from New England or Canada, they are almost double our clam costs (50 cents each) – we are supplementing our current supply out of Florida with reasonably priced clams. But I think in general, clam prices will rise significantly this fall.  

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