This Week in Seafood: December 9, 2019

This Week in Seafood: December 9, 2019

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1. VENZ CRABMEAT REMAINS AN EXTREME VALUE – Production out of Lake Maracaibo continues to flood the market and keep fresh jumbo lump prices depressed – Currently they are $6/lb UNDER pasteurized Indonesian jumbo lump prices.  Fresh Ven Superlump and fresh Ven lump are similarly discounted. Take advantage of the “below market” pricing and promote fresh crabmeat dishes for your holiday parties this week.


2. BEAUTIFUL HOOK & LINE ROCK – With the colder weather, our local wild rockfish are coming in looking like we caught them in our parking lot. Big black stripes and cherry red gills indicate just how fresh they really are. We also have one of the top “drift-gill netters” on the Bay out of Tilghman Island, catching nice fish in the deep water just off Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant. Wild rockfish (2/4 & 5/8) is a great local item to feature all month. Wild jumbo rockfish availability will be intermittent at best. They just showed up last week right off the beach between Indian River Inlet and Ocean City Inlet. The problem is the fish have to get into Virginia waters (just a few miles south) to be legally caught AND not many Virginia fishermen have any tags left from last spring.

. PLENTY OF RED SNAPPER QUOTA LEFT – This year has been unusually windy, especially along the Gulf of Mexico. That means that many Gulf Red Snapper fishermen have NOT caught their quota. If they don’t catch it in the next 21 days, they LOSE IT ! So if you have a special party you want to “WOW”, give them the best fish that swims (IMO). Contact your sales rep and plan ahead.


4. TONS OF NORWEGIAN HALIBUT STILL IN RIGOR ! These babies are hard as nails and so stiff you can’t bend them. We fly them direct into Dulles twice a week. No need to worry about the weather, these farmed Norwegian halibut are always available. Great item for Christmas and New Years menus.


5. NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER FISHERMEN LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK AT US-CHINA TRADE WAR  — Last year, when the Chinese slapped a 25% tariff on all live lobsters coming from the US, the Canadian fishermen couldn’t believe their luck. “We are so grateful for Donald J. Trump” says Stewart Lamont, owner of Tangier Lobster Company, located 90 minutes northeast of Halifax. “We are in a very unique position, thanks to this trade war and he started it all”. Cargo planes loaded with 150,000 lbs of live lobster, (no people except pilots on board) leave Halifax Int’l Airport at least every other day ! Canada now CONTROLS 85% of the Chinese LOBSTER MARKET ! Lobster exports from Canada to China have jumped 350% in the last 18 months. In all likelihood, IF there wasn’t a trade war and tariffs, most of these lobsters flying to Asia right now, would be sold to local processors and made into lobster tails and meat – prices would not be as high as they are now!

Fishermen are ordering new MILLION DOLLAR BOATS (like it’s going out of style) with larger live wells and aeration systems, allowing them to hold bigger catches and travel further.

They’re willing to spend extra on creature comforts such as satellite TV, laundry facilities, showers, full kitchens and even private quarters so they can work through the night and stay at sea longer. Many Nova Scotia boat builders have a 2 YEAR BACKLOG OF ORDERS for new boats. Not surprisingly, there is a shortage of new pick up trucks too at dealers in Nova Scotia

6. LED LIGHTS ON NETS REDUCE BY-CATCH OF TURTLES AND PORPOISES BY 70% — The study, by the University of Exeter and Peruvian conservation organization ProDelphinus, looked at small-scale vessels departing from three Peruvian ports between 2015 and 2018, and found the lights didn’t reduce the amount of fish caught from target species. The findings support previous research that suggested LED lights reduce by-catch of seabirds in gill-nets by about 85 percent.

In the U.S., LED lights are used on cold water pink shrimp trawl nets to reduce eulachon smelt by-catch in fisheries along the West Coast. Similar LED lights have been tested in Pacific hake trawls to minimize Chinook salmon by-catch.

7. LOTS MORE JUMBO BLACK BASS ALLOWED TO BE CAUGHT IN 2020 !!

Fish quotas aren’t always cut – sometimes proper fisheries management results in good news! The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council increased the black sea bass quota (TAC -total allowable catch) for 2020 by a whopping 40%. Much of this black bass quota will be caught in the first quarter of next year, while boats with black bass quota are out on fluke trips. They will catch their trip quota of fluke, usually 10,000 lbs, and then go after the black bass. Look for cheap prices next year.

8. VIRGINIA GRANTS 6 NEW TRAWL PERMITS TO CATCH FRESH SHRIMP – This is a brand new developing fishery on the eastern shore of Virginia. Fresh white shrimp are becoming more and more plentiful every year, to the point that a viable commercial fishery is feasible. The VMRC granted 6 new permits to fish for fresh shrimp in Virginia state owned waters next summer. This will be a marketing boom for local restaurants to be able to feature such a popular item as being caught locally.

9. HOLIDAY GOURMET ITEMS – Holiday party season is among us! Did you know we have a full line of caviar, smoked fish and specialty items. Any of our caviars can be packaged in gift boxes with mother of pearl spoons for a small upcharge. We also have specialty foods like botarga, smoked shrimp, smoked scallops, tobiko, japanese BBQ sauce and much more. Our inventory list does not end at fresh fish! Let us know if there is anything else you are looking to use for your holiday menus! 

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