This Week in Seafood: March 2, 2020

This Week in Seafood: March 2, 2020

THIS WEEK IN FISH – MARCH 2, 2020…

1. MARINE ALGAE GROWN IN NEBRASKA TO FEED FISH AROUND THE WORLD! One of the biggest complaints about most current fish aquaculture practices is that we “kill fish to feed to other fish to grow fish”. A company based in the Netherlands called Veramaris, has pioneered the development of a unique strain of marine algae containing both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. They recently built a brand new $200 million facility in Blair, Nebraska to grow commercial amounts of this marine algae. The algae is then fed to trout and salmon on farms in France and the resulting fish have been well accepted by the buying public. The point of this is that we can now grow fish, a very nutritious protein, to feed the world WITHOUT killing more fish in the process.

Veramaris’ Global Business Development Director, Gaëlle Husser sums it up correctly, “Using algae oil is helping to decrease the demand on wild-caught fisheries to supply fishmeal rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. With the well-known benefits of eating a diet rich in omega-3s, the alternative source that we provide complements the finite supply of fish oil from wild-caught fish, and trout and salmon consumers have access to sustainable and healthy fish.” 

2. MARYLAND ROCKFISH SEASON CLOSED – VIRGINIA IS OPEN – The drift-gill net season has ended and all Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay are now closed to the commercial harvest of wild rockfish until June 1, 2020. The Potomac River is open for wild rockfish as are the Virginia waters of the Chesapeake. Traditionally in years past, tons and tons of gigantic rockfish (20-40 pounders) were landed in March as they ran in from the ocean, answering Mother nature’s call to reproduce. It was a shame to kill all these big spawning fish and dump them on the market for cheap money. Now, as the spawning stock biomass of rockfish hits 20 year lows, we are finally changing our management of the species. Virginia has instituted a 7″ mesh net law that will only catch fish up to about 10 lbs. That will save a lot of jumbo fish (of the ones that are left). Maryland has cut their recreational limit from 2 fish per day to 1 fish per day. The Maryland recreational “trophy rockfish season” (absurd to even have one) has been pushed back to open May 1, giving most of the spawners a chance to spawn unmolested, and leave the Bay, heading to their next stop on their journey, the New England ocean waters off Massachusetts. 

3. SPRING IS ALMOST HERE! MARYLAND CRAB SEASON OPENS IN 30 DAYS – It seems hard to believe, but in only 4 weeks, pots go in the water for Maryland crab season. All indications are that there will be lots of crabs crawling around to start. Picking houses should crank up meat production sometime in the first week of April, HOWEVER, the H2B visa program (everyone’s sole source for crab pickers) has been severely cut back and there is tremendous uncertainty whether or not certain picking house will get any pickers. It is very tough to pick fresh crabmeat without crab pickers! 

4. VENZ JUMBO AN EXTREME VALUE FOR THE THIRD WEEK IN A ROW – The fresh Venezuelan jumbo lump market remains at around $1 per ounce again this week. Usage is way up but production is keeping pace with sales. Keep promoting where you can because next week looks like more of the same.

5. SKREI COD AT ITS FINEST POINT – When the wild cod in the Barents Sea migrate off Norway during their spawning run, the fish are in “peak condition”. These beauties are 10-20 lbs. each and head off, still in rigor. You have never tasted a cod this good. Try some this week.

6. MAHI MARKET SPIKES – After being undervalued for months, the combination of Carnival celebrations across South America, the full moon and the beginning of Lent all came together to jump mahi prices by 40%. How long it will stay at this level is an open question but if you want to eat mahi this week it will cost you 75 cents an ounce.

7. FRESH HADDOCK IS A HIT! – We started bringing in fresh, hand cut haddock fillets from fish right off the New Bedford Fish Auction last week to see if we could introduce a new item to the masses. What started as an experiment quickly turned into a new inventory item for our customers. These fish are processed daily right after they get bought off the auction floor. We are stocking only LARGE, Skin on, scaled fillets packed in 10 lb. boxes. With a price under $10, this is a great fish to run as a special during Lent.

Thank you and have a great week! 

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