Posts Tagged seafood

Jun 26 2014

Fresh fish versus frozen fish: Is it a fair fight?

csmlogo_large

Consumers may consider fresh fish to be better overall than frozen fish. But, the difference isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem to be.

By Andrea Moore, Food Tank

0623-fish_full_600

Ben Pierce/Bozeman Daily Chronicle/AP/File
Josh Bergan fights a rainbow trout on Hebgen Lake in Montana. Consumers may consider fresh fish to be better overall than frozen fish, but the difference isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem to be.

Fresh versus frozen doesn’t seem like a fair fight. Who would pick that old, damaged, nutrient-poor frozen fish when they could have a new, unblemished, nutrient-rich fresh one?

In the case of seafood, the assumptions surrounding those f-words are inconsistent with the reality of getting quality fish to the dinner table in a waste-conscious way. So let’s ignore the imagery for a minute and consider some fish logistics.

From the Depths

To find, reach, fish, and return from fishing holes in the open ocean costs time, money, and freshness. Commercial fishing operations have two options:

  1. Store fish on ice and return before they spoil (according to the FAO, cod and haddock last 15 days or so).
  2. Flash-freeze fish and return when the hold is full.

The economics definitely favor freezing, and in developed countries in 2012, 55 percent of processed fish for human consumption was frozen, up from 38 percent in 1972. But aren’t we sacrificing nutrition for convenience by choosing to freeze instead of chill?

Delaying Decay

Fish are like any other organism—when they die, they begin to decay. Immediately. Yes, chilling slows that decay as well as microbial growth and nutrient loss, but the only way to stop those processes is freezing.

Aboard fish processing ships, products are flash-frozen using freezing plates, air blasts, or liquid nitrogen spray, which reduces the internal temperature of products to -20°C in minutes to a few hours. This rapid freezing preserves nutrients and decreases the formation of ice crystals that damage cell membranes and negatively affect the texture of thawed products.

Flying Fish

For a fresh fish to get from the sea to the scenic prairies, it needs to fly. But after an unknown time on a ship, an airplane, and store shelves, how fresh could that fish in your fridge really be? If you’re a skeptical consumer, you’ll try the sniff test, and if there’s any doubt, you’ll probably throw it out. What a waste! Not only the fish, but the resources used in obtaining, storing, and shipping that fish.

You might be less skeptical of a thawed fish’s freshness and you’re definitely more likely to only thaw the amount you need. That reduces waste. And, because the clock on frozen seafood is ticking so slowly, products can be shipped in containers, which is a slower but cheaper method, often reflected in the product’s price at the supermarket.

The Verdict

Maybe fresh versus frozen really wasn’t a fair fight after all. Nutrients, waste, cost—frozen beats fresh on many fronts. But does that mean you should turn down your local fisherman’s daily catch in favor of a frozen filet?

Sustainable Fresh or Sustainable Frozen?

Let’s remember the big picture when it comes to seafood: sustainability. In my recent article, I discussed why sustainable seafood is important and how to find it—fresh or frozen. Because of overfishing, we should always be thinking sustainable first, but when do you choose sustainable fresh or sustainable frozen?

Easy.

If the fish can get from the boat deck to your backdoor in half a day without flying first class, fresh is a safe bet. Otherwise, feel confident that a conscious choice for frozen is a healthier and less wasteful one.


Read the original article here.

 

Nov 12 2013

The fish we don’t eat

blackfish - SalonIt’s hard to imagine just how many edible fish there are until you see them arrayed in their multicolored, multi-finned glory. Lobster Place, a bustling seafood shop in the center of New York’s Chelsea Market, is a good place to start. The store’s open display cases hold live sea urchins that respond to the touch; fat, juicy chunks of Hawaiian Wahoo; gigantic, whole tilefish that stare, glassy-eyed at the curious consumer; and other offerings that, were they not labeled, you’d need a degree in marine biology to recognize.

Some, like baby squid and octopi, razor clams, and fillets of specialty catch that retail for upward of $25 per pound, might intimidate the standard home chef in search of something to serve for dinner. This is intentional. Chelsea market draws tourists, upper-class gourmands and Food Network fans in search of weird fish that’s hard to find anywhere else.

Other offerings, though, are just … different. There’s no reason to believe most of the fillets priced by the pound are less tasty or harder to cook than typical supermarket fare. Yet Davis Herron, Lobster Place’s director, says standard fillets of salmon, tuna, cod and halibut are still the specialty market’s biggest sellers.

It’s no coincidence that the most endangered fish are also staples of the American diet. When we talk about overfishing, we’re referring to individual species that consumers — and the market – latch on to, often to the exclusion of other options. As much as we extoll the virtue of seafood, our enthusiasm for those select few suggests, we’re really not all that comfortable with it.

“There’s a fear of seafood,” said Rick Moonen, a renowned seafood chef who was one of the first to advocate sustainable fishing. “For some reason, people get nervous.” Fish are complicated, expensive and easy to overcook. They’re laced with small, sharp bones ready to choke the incautious diner. They smell. The limited number of species we stick to aren’t exceptions, but at least they’re familiar. Yet by refusing to broaden our options, we’re threatening to eat them out of existence.

Read the full article here.

Oct 25 2013

Sustainable Seafood – A U.S. Success Story

NOAA   FishWatch

The United States is a recognized global leader in responsibly managed fisheries and sustainable seafood. And you can help too!

This video introduces consumers to FishWatch.gov, which provides easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help users make smart, sustainable seafood choices.

Through this video, you’ll learn more about “sustainability” and what NOAA is doing to ensure that our seafood is caught and farmed responsibly with consideration for the health of a species, the environment, and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.

Have you ever thought about where that piece of salmon on your plate came from? It could have been caught in a wild fishery or harvested from an aquaculture operation. Maybe it’s from the United States, or maybe it was imported from another country, like Canada or Chile?

Read the full story here.

Sep 23 2013

FDA says US, imported seafood has no radiation risk from Fukushima

Seafood News
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton Sept. 23, 2013 – In a September update on food safety issues related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the FDA declared that there is no public health concern for the U.S. They said that the same holds true for imported seafood, including seafood from Japan. For example, in a study that detected very low levels of cesium in bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California, the FDA says these levels were 300 times lower than the level that would even trigger an investigation to see if there was a public health concern. In short, although some specific radioactive isotopes may be detected from time to time, the FDA says that these levels are so low as to provide no issue whatsoever for public health.

Their full statement is below:

To date, FDA has no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern. This is true for both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and U.S. domestic food products, including seafood caught off the coast of the United States.

Consequently, FDA is not advising consumers to alter their consumption of specific foods imported from Japan or domestically produced foods, including seafood. FDA continues to closely monitor the situation at and around the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility, as it has since the start of the incident and will coordinate with other Federal and state agencies as necessary, standing ready to take action if needed, to ensure the safety of food in the U.S. marketplace.

Import Alert # 99-33, which instructs FDA field personnel to detain foods shipments from Japan if the food is likely to contain radionuclide contamination, remains active. In addition, FDA tests for radionuclides as part of its routine surveillance, through the toxic elements in food and foodware monitoring program and through its Total Diet Study.

On top of the information obtained from its testing of imported and domestic foods, FDA stays current on radiation monitoring efforts by other U.S. Government agencies, including the environmental radiation monitoring program (RadNet) conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, the Agency consults on a formal and informal basis with experts from government, academia and the private sector on radiation safety issues. FDA scientists also keep abreast of scientific publications and reports from both private and public scientific institutions, including oceanographic research institutions. For example, a study published in 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported finding very low levels of Cesium in Pacific Bluefin tuna caught by recreational fisherman off the coast of California in August 2011. FDA reviewed this study and determined that the levels of cesium were roughly 300 times lower than levels that would prompt FDA to investigate further to determine if there were a health concern.

Read the full article here.

Sep 17 2013

Movement of marine life follows speed and direction of climate change

Science Daily

Scientists expect climate change and warmer oceans to push the fish that people rely on for food and income into new territory. Predictions of where and when species will relocate, however, are based on broad expectations about how animals will move and have often not played out in nature. New research based at Princeton University shows that the trick to more precise forecasts is to follow local temperature changes.

The researchers report in the journal Science the first evidence that sea creatures consistently keep pace with “climate velocity,” or the speed and direction in which changes such as ocean temperature move. They compiled 43 years of data related to the movement of 128 million animals from 360 species living around North America, including commercial staples such as lobster, shrimp and cod. They found that 70 percent of shifts in animals’ depth and 74 percent of changes in latitude correlated with regional-scale fluctuations in ocean temperature.

“If we follow the temperature, which is easier to predict, that provides a method to predict where the species will be, too,” said first author Malin Pinsky, a former Princeton postdoctoral researcher in ecology and evolutionary biology who is now an assistant professor of ecology and evolution at Rutgers University.

“Climate changes at different rates and in different directions in different places,” he said. “Animals are basically being exposed to different changes in temperature.”

The researchers compiled survey data collected from 1968 to 2011 by American and Canadian fishery-research centers and government panels. The surveys recorded surface and bottom temperatures, as well as the complete mass of animals in nine areas central to North American fisheries: the Aleutian Islands; the eastern Bering Sea; the Gulf of Alaska; the West Coast from Washington to California; the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mexico; the Northeast coast from North Carolina to Maine; the coast of Nova Scotia; the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence; and the Atlantic Ocean east of Newfoundland.

Details of the surveys revealed that sea creatures adhere to a “complex mosaic of local climate velocities,” the researchers reported. On average, changes in temperature for North America moved north a mere 4.5 miles per decade, but in parts of Newfoundland that pace was a speedier 38 miles north per decade. In areas off the U.S. West Coast, temperatures shifted south at 30 miles per decade, while in the Gulf of Mexico velocities varied from 19 miles south to 11 miles north per decade.

Animal movements were just as motley. As a whole, species shifted an average of 5 miles north per decade, but 45 percent of animal specific populations swam south. Cod off Newfoundland moved 37 miles north per decade, while lobster in the northeastern United States went the same direction at 43 miles per decade. On the other hand, pink shrimp, a staple of Gulf Coast fisheries, migrated south 41 miles per decade, the researchers found.

Read the full article here.

Aug 19 2013

California Wetfish Producers Association

CWPA Logo - June 2013California’s fishing industry was built largely on ‘wetfish’, so called because historically these fish were canned ‘wet from the sea’, with minimal preprocessing. Sardines, mackerel, anchovy and market squid (now called coastal pelagic species) have contributed the lion’s share of California’s commercial seafood harvest since the turn of the 20th century.

The enterprise of immigrant fishermen founded California’s wetfish industry, building up the ports of Monterey and San Pedro, San Diego and San Francisco. Today’s wetfish industry is a traditional industry with a contemporary outlook: streamlined and efficient, but still peopled by fourth and fifth-generation fishing families. Today the sons and daughters continue the enterprise begun by their fathers and grandfathers 100 years ago.

Transformed from its storied beginning, California’s wetfish industry remains an essential part of the state’s fishing culture, as well as a key contributor to our fishing economy, producing more than 80 percent of the volume and 40 percent of dockside value of all commercial fishery landings statewide.

Coastal pelagic species are also among the Golden State’s most important seafood exports. In a state that imports more than 86 percent of its seafood, the wetfish complex contributes close to 80 percent of all seafood exports, helping to offset the seafood trade imbalance.

This industry has invested in cooperative research since the beginning of the California Cooperative Fishery Investigations (CalCOFI) in the 1940s, when wetfish fishermen assessed their harvest to help fund the research partnership developed among the California Department of Fish and Game, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC).

Wetfish industry leadership established the nonprofit California Wetfish Producers Association (CWPA) in 2004, including fishermen and processors who produce most of the harvest statewide. CWPA’s mission promotes education, communication, and cooperative research to ensure sustainable fisheries.

Today CWPA’s research program continues the CalCOFI tradition, collaborating with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Southwest Fishery Science Center to expand knowledge of coastal pelagic species.

Read the full story here.

Jul 11 2013

‘Dancing Squid’ Phenomenon: How Soy Sauce Brings A Dead Creature Back To ‘Life’

Soy sauce may be able to revive a dull dish, but it hardly has the ability bring dead things back to life. Yet, that’s exactly what the condiment appears to do in a GIF recently posted on Reddit.

Borrowed from a 2010 Youtube video, the GIF shows a cuttlefish seemingly coming back to life when soy sauce is poured atop it. The cephalopod’s body lifts up and writhes in the bowl, prompting viewers to ask: Is it really dead?

Indeed, the cuttlefish in the video — part of a seafood dish named odori-don — is no longer living. The cuisine, sometimes prepared with squid and known as the “dancing squid rice bowl,” rose to prominence after Japanese sushi restaurant Ikkatei Tabiji began preparing the plate in this particular fashion, according to CBS News.

So how does the squid “come back to life?”

Read full story here.

Jul 2 2013

Oxford University reveal that a fishy diet can improve reading and concentration in kids

Sunday Express

Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA, found in fish and seafood, are essential for the brain’s structure and function as well as for maintaining a healthy heart.

Research carried out at Oxford University and published in the journal PLOS One, found children’s blood levels of DHA “significantly predicted” how well they were able to concentrate and learn.

Blood omega-3 levels were studied in 493 UK schoolchildren aged from seven to nine.

Read the full story here.

Apr 9 2013

FRESH FACTS. SMART SEAFOOD.

This video introduces consumers to FishWatch.gov, which provides easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help users make smart, sustainable seafood choices.

Through this video, you’ll learn more about “sustainability” and what NOAA is doing to ensure that our seafood is caught and farmed responsibly with consideration for the health of a species, the environment, and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.

And you can help too!

Have you ever thought about where that piece of salmon on your plate came from? It could have been caught in a wild fishery or harvested from an aquaculture operation. Maybe it’s from the United States, or maybe it was imported from another country, like Canada or Chile.

It’s important to know the source of your seafood because not all of them measure up the same. Some seafood is wild-caught or farm-raised under regulations that protect the health of the marine ecosystem, the animals that live within it, and the consumers that eat it—however, some seafood is not. By buying seafood from reputable sources, you can help to conserve our ocean resources and support the economies and communities that ensure our seafood supply is safe and sustainable.

The next time you buy or eat seafood, get informed and make sustainable choices by using FishWatch.gov.

Dec 10 2012

Soybean Diets for Farmed Fish

**West coast CPS ‘forage’ harvest is strictly limited to leave most fish in the ocean, so innovative fish farmers are developing alternative feeds to provide high quality seafood for restaurants and seafood consumers.

 

 

What is the future of seafood?

A new video, funded by the U.S. soybean industry, takes us behind the scenes to what could become the beginning of a “green” fish-farming revolution.

“The video shows folks that industry is concerned about sustainability and that research is being conducted to address potential problems with cage farming,” said Donald Kent, president of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego. “Sea Grant and NOAA should take some credit for making this a possibility.”

Fish farmers at the innovative Pacifico Aquaculture are raising white sea bass, yellowtail and other premium finfish species in floating open-ocean cages near Isla Todos Santos (a famous big wave surf spot) off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico. 

The farm has recently earned a “best aquaculture practices” certification for all its green efforts.

Read the full article.