This Week in Seafood: October 21, 2019
This Week in Seafood: October 21, 2019
CHESAPEAKE OYSTERMEN HAVE WEDNESDAYS OFF WORK NOW !! In a move to conserve the remaining stock of wild Virginica oysters in the Chesapeake, the Maryland DNR declared there will be no commercial oystering on Wednesdays from now until the end of the season in mid March. Oyster harvesting is already forbidden on Saturdays and Sundays. The Bay’s wild oyster population has been decimated by 72″ of rainfall this year (normally 35″). The lack of salinity has killed many oyster bars and severely stunted the growth of those that survived. I personally believe that the state legislature will pass a moratorium on commercial harvest of oysters early next year. That same bill needed only one more vote to become law this year but failed.
2019 GULF WILD SHRIMP HARVEST 30% BELOW 10 YEAR AVERAGE !! The domestic shrimp market is firming rapidly as it becomes clear that the shrimp just are not out there in the Gulf of Mexico to be caught. When the Texas season opened July 15th, fleets of shrimp boats actually left Texas waters, where they were not finding any shrimp, and headed east to Louisiana and Florida in search of pink and white shrimp. 21’s and larger are rising now almost weekly.
WILD NORWEGIAN HALIBUT ? When you think of Norwegian seafood, their beautiful farmed Atlantic salmon is usually the first thing to come to mind. However, they are also sending over some exquisite quality wild halibut. These fish are FAT and great tasting ! Try some today !
ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING IN MASSACHUSETTS !! In a sure sign of the coming change of seasons, the jumbo rockfish off Cape Cod are gone, headed south on their annual fall migration. It will take about 4 weeks for them to reach the lower Chesapeake Bay, around the Bridge Tunnel. Some will even take the “shortcut” route through the Delaware Bay and then through the C&D Canal and enter the Bay just below the Susquehana Flats ! Unfortunately, New York is the only Atlantic state open for commercial rockfishing and they are not producing much. We have plenty of 2/4 and 5/8 rockfish being caught locally. The migratory stock is in extremely rough shape. Monterey Bay will most likely color them “red” next year. Their population numbers (spawning stock biomass) are as low as they were in the early 1980’s prior to the first moratorium. I believe a second moratorium is possible, or maybe even likely, in the next 5 years if things don’t improve. This year’s YOY index (young of year) was 3.4 which I believe is the second lowest ever recorded in the 50 years they have been collecting data on Chesapeake Bay rockfish spawning success. Recreational fishermen, who kill 90% of the wild rockfish coast wide, will have their seasons drastically cut, with NO FISHING NEXT JULY !! PRAY FOR A DOMINANT YEAR CLASS NEXT SPRING !!
LOCAL CRABMEAT STILL BEING PICKED BUT … We are within 60 days of local picking houses closing up for the winter so it is time to think about nitro frozen Maryland meat or pasteurized Maryland crabmeat. Contact your sales rep and come up with a plan for the winter.
RIOTS IN CHILE ! – the President of Chile declared a state of emergency nationwide. The military has taken over the streets to control the situation and the great majority of public services have been shutdown as of Saturday night. Airports, warehouses, and public transportation have been affected. Some national and international flights were grounded. So far the flow of salmon has not been affected, however, if the situation deteriorates, and salmon shipments cannot get out of the country, then salmon price increases won’t be far behind.FRESH
VENEZUELAN CRABMEAT WILL BE IN THE HOUSE THURSDAY – the first shipments of fresh Venezuelan production hit Miami this weekend. It will be HPP’d (high pressure pasteurized) today and shipped tomorrow for Thursday delivery at the latest. Prices have not cracked yet (starting out at the same price as domestic meat) but in years past, it took a week to 10 days for the market to collapse.