Stone Crabs!

Monday Update

To All Our Buyers and Chefs,

It will be sunny but cooler for the rest of the week with a slight chance of a shower on Thursday. In 1801 Alexander Hamilton and his political allies publish the first edition of The New York Evening Post to present the Federalist point of view. The National Broadcasting Company – debuts on radio with a network of 24 stations in 1926; its premiere program features Will Rogers and the New York Symphony Orchestra. The Space Shuttle Columbia completes its 1st operational flight in 1982. 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 2' grosses $500 million in 24 hours to become the biggest entertainment launch of all time in 2012.

American Red Snappers are a featured item for us this week, the 2-4# size are priced well. Red Snapper feed on fish, shrimp, crab, worms, cephalopods (octopus or squid), and some plankton (tiny floating plants and animals); these fish are stellar and should have a spot on your specials this week. We have some amazing Hamachi coming in tomorrow from Japan. They are whole sides with the center bone removed leaving just a loin of delightful yellowtail. These bad boys are a steal at current price, which is a few bucks less than the usual price. The Local Monkfish has been just a killer fresh for the last week or so, the tails have been on the larger size and still bleeding when they get to us.

Local Pollack is the bargain of the week so far, this cousin of the Cod is great for a fish stew, Fish & Chips and also works smoked for a pate. We have a boatload of Mahi looking for a home, that should be easy to pull the trigger on. Lastly our local oyster the Great Nortyh Bay is a steal this week, eats like a Barnstable for 20% less.

 Abundant Stone Crab Pushes US Prices DownSeafoodSource

November 16, 2015 - It’s a “banner year” for stone crabs in Florida, providing a better value for foodservice and retail buyers. “I have never seen them catching stone crabs like they’re caching now, and I was crabbing 20 years ago,” said Gib Migliano, owner of wholesaler Save on Seafood in St. Petersburg, Fla. “It’s a banner year and prices have come down substantially since last year.” While the stone crab fishery had low landings for the last two years, this season is different. “This year, landings have been very, very good,” said Gary Graves, vice president of Keys Fisheries in Marathon, Fla.

Last season, around 2.22 million pounds of stone crab were harvested, versus 1.99 million pounds in the 2013-14 season. Still, last season’s harvest was notably lower than the average season of 3 million pounds. The lack of supply pushed last season’s stone crab value to 31 million (in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. As a result of plentiful supply this season – likely due to warmer weather – wholesale prices range from $3 to $7 per pound lower than last season, wholesalers say.

Thanks to lower prices, some retailers and restaurants are passing on the savings to customers. “Whole Foods Market has some wonderful prices on stone crab,” Migliano said. A Whole Foods’ store in Coral Springs, Fla., for example, featured medium claws for 17.99 a pound and large for 19.99 a pound during the weekend of November 14th. Many fish markets also have better prices on stone crab than last season, but some retailers and restaurants are not lowering prices.

“Some restaurants never change their price [on stone crab],” Migliano said. “Most have preprinted menus and are looking for a price at the beginning of the season.” Graves said it is a great time for restaurants to take advantage of the plentiful harvest. “With the price being down, it will be more attractive for a restaurant to have stone crab. The ordinary restaurant will put crab on special on Friday or Saturday.”

In good news for buyers, stone crab prices could slide again before the high demand Christmas season, according to Migliano, because of overproduction.

 “Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo,

Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio,
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o,
Son of a gun we'll have big fun on the bayou”

 ~ 1952‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’ by Hank Williams #1 on the country music charts.



Susan Parker

Salty Susan



To All Our Buyers and Chefs,

Looks like a good weekend of weather with a chance of a shower on Saturday. Today in 1842 Carl Paul Gottfried Linde was born, a German engineer who invented and developed mechanical refrigeration so beer could be brewed year round, our hero! Here in NYC the horse-drawn hansom cab is introduced in Central Park. Soon riding through the park becomes a favorite pastime for New Yorkers. On Monday, June 22Sustainable Seafood Week, the national effort to promote environmentally sound, responsibly sourced seafood, returns to New York City for the third consecutive year.

We have some amazing large format American Red Snappers, these bad boys are 8lbs and up. The yield is better than the smaller ones and the trim can be used for a ceviche, taco or crudo. These beauties have some beautiful red gills and a looking for a good home. Bronzini in the 4/600g size are a featured item for the weekend, the summer is a few weeks away and the price will go up as the Europeans start vacationing. Wild King Salmon has been stellar all week and should be a special as the price is better. Higher in fat and luxurious on the tongue, a real treat. 

Local Hake has made a nice drop this week for a food cost saving special, a cousin to the Cod she has a nice flake, cooks up off white and moist. Golden Corvina is another sleeper that is building momentum, versatile in use and has a nice fat content for a grilled plate. Lobster prices are at a good number too this week so if not already jump on it while the price is lower. Tuna has also dropped to some very nice numbers. Swordfish is also sitting nicely at a lower price as well. Wild Striped Bass is still on the higher side but NY season is opening in July...

Halibut Dumping Stirs Fight Among Fishing Fleets In Alaska                 

June 10th, 2015 - If you've ever encountered halibut, it was probably as a tasty — and pricey — entree. But in Alaska, it's the subject of a fierce fish battle. On one side are small family-owned fishing boats. On the other, an industrial fleet delivering seafood to the world. This weekend, federal managers are trying to decide how both sides can survive. In the middle of the Bering Sea, a fishing vessel is hauling in a 50-foot net. It looks like a stocking packed with fish, their mouths wide open and gasping for breath. John Nelson has been the captain of the Rebecca Irene for 20 years. His 35-man boat is part of a Seattle-based fleet that fishes these waters around the clock, January through December.

"We're talking about a tremendous amount of jobs. We're talking about a tremendous amount of a low-cost protein source that is utilized worldwide," Nelson says. The Rebecca Irene is a trawler — it tows a net along the ocean bottom, scooping up everything in its path. Most of the fish then goes to China for processing — and from there, around the globe. Some makes it back to the U.S., landing in the frozen food aisle. But here is the controversy. Mixed in with the cheap Yellowfin sole and arrowtooth flounder is expensive halibut, one of the iconic species of the North Pacific. At the store, it can go for $24 per pound. The Rebecca Irene can't keep that halibut: Trawlers aren't supposed to catch it, and the law requires any halibut that are caught be thrown overboard.

"We have no control over that," Nelson says. "We're forced to discard halibut. It's a prohibited species for us. We can't even eat it." That accidentally caught halibut is called bycatch. Last year, almost 9 million pounds of bycatch was dumped, dead, in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. And this is a point of contention with those who actually do fish for halibut. Simeon Swetzof Jr. has been a halibut fisherman for more than 30 years. He's also the mayor of St. Paul, a town of about 500 people, mostly Alaska Native Aleuts, in the remote Pribilof Islands. "You meet people on the street, talking to people anywhere, Seattle, other places in the country here, [and they say,] 'Oh, halibut! I love halibut.' Well, guess what? It comes from where we live, out in the Bering Sea, and down here in the Gulf of Alaska," Swetzof says. There isn't much of an economy in St. Paul. Most families rely on halibut for a big chunk of their income. They're part of Alaska's thousand-strong commercial halibut fleet, small boats that fish with longlines and hooks. The vast majority of those boats are family-owned.

But in recent years, because of concerns about halibut numbers, the amount that fishermen are allowed to catch has dropped. Meanwhile, the amount of bycatch the big boats can take — and discard — has stayed essentially the same. In the Bering Sea, halibut fishermen have seen their share cut so low that last year, there was more halibut thrown overboard by the big boats than was caught by the small boats. If the trend doesn't change, fishermen in St. Paul face the potential of a complete shutdown. With his community's future on the line, Swetsov choked up as he testified this week before the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which regulates bycatch in federal waters off of Alaska. "I'm extremely angry that we're here today," he says. Swetzof and others asked the council to cut the amount of bycatch allowed in the Bering Sea by 50, calling the status quo unacceptable. "We live right out in the richest ocean in the world, practically, and we're going to see this happen to us, in our own backyard? No! We'll fight it!" Swetzof says.

But the industrial fleet says they've already done a lot to reduce bycatch, and anything more would be devastating, putting their boats — and crews — out of work for most of the year. The council is expected to vote on the issue this weekend.

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

~ Vince Lombardi, born today in 1913 here in NYC



Susan Parker



BP Oil Spill Five Years Later


The weather looks good with 50-60 degree temps all week; with a chance of rain for Wednesday. Days after he is released from his command in the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur is honored with a ticker-tape parade today in 1951. NYC officially recognizes its architectural heritage with enactment of the Landmarks Law, designed to preserve historic buildings and districts in 1965 (this grew out of the destruction of the original Penn Station in 1963). Today is also National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day, hmm yummy.

Large Black Sea Bass looks great for a special this week, the fish are firm with red gill and clear eyes. The price just dropped a bit that should make everyone happy. Swordfish is especially gorgeous this week and is still a great deal for the next few days. East Coast Halibut our old friend and go to fish dropped a bit this week as well, the fish are smaller, 10-20 lbs, but stellar as usual! Local Hake is a fish located a little further down the food chain for consumers but is truly a great fish to eat, with a little imagination this fish will stand up to its higher priced brethren.

The larger Bronzini 800-1000g (2# avg) are a special buy for this week, they are big enough for a whole roasted or grilled fish for two or we can filet them and you will have two good-sized filets for 2 entrée plates. Golden Corvina is a personal favorite, it will make a great crudo or ceviche and will grill up quite nicely too. We are starting to see Mussels trickle in from parts of PEI (where the mussels come from) but no significant volume as of yet, but please be patient.


Debbie Elliott NPR

April 20, 2015 - Pelicans are nesting at Queen Bess Island in Barataria Bay. Five years ago, the nesting season here was marred by the oil gushing out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Pelicans are nesting at Queen Bess Island in Barataria Bay. Five years ago, the nesting season here was marred by the oil gushing out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Debbie Elliott/NPR

Five years ago, BP's out-of-control oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Eleven workers were killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig. But it was more than a deadly accident — the blast unleashed the nation's worst offshore environmental catastrophe. In the spring and summer of 2010, oil gushed from the Macondo well for nearly three months. More than 3 million barrels of Louisiana light crude fouled beaches and wetlands from Texas to Florida, affecting wildlife and livelihoods. Today, the spill's impacts linger.


On a remote string of barrier islands off the Louisiana coast, longtime outdoorsman Bob Marshall, an environmental writer for The Lens, steers his Twin Vee catamaran toward East Grand Terre. Marshall was on this island when the oil hit the shore in 2010. "I'll never forget the day it came in here," he says. "It was the peak nesting season in April for brown pelicans." He describes waves of reddish-orange gunk rolling in with the tide. A boat collects oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 near New Orleans.A boat collects oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 near New Orleans.
A boat collects oil that leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 near New Orleans.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
"It was hitting these islands, coating the roots of the mangroves and also the birds were diving," Marshall says. "The adults would come back after looking for food and sit down on their eggs and there was oil on the eggs."This was one of the most heavily oiled areas during the BP oil spill five years ago. Today, hundreds of tar balls still dot the beach. A BP crew works to clean up a large tar mat from the surf. "This will be going on, unfortunately, for years," says Marshall.
That's because some of the oil was buried beneath the sand just offshore, and it gets churned up when the surf is rough. Back out on Barataria Bay, Marshall points to where roots jut up in the open water. These used to be mangrove islands. "The oil coated the roots of those mangrove trees and then they died," Marshall says. "And without the mangroves to hold the islands together, within three years most of those islands were gone."
Louisiana was already losing land at an alarming rate, but scientists confirm that the oil spill accelerated the pace. Barataria Bay has lost key bird nesting islands, and federal government studies indicate that dolphins here in the bay are sick and dying at a higher rate than normal and show signs of oil poisoning. On an afternoon boat tour, Marshall sees something that worries him.
"There's another dead dolphin. That's the second one we've seen," he notes. "This is strictly anecdotal — can't tie it to anything. But seriously, I've never seen a single dead dolphin out here. Now I'm seeing two. This is amazing."

A boat collects oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf in April 2010 near New Orleans.

BP: 'The Gulf Is A Resilient Body Of Water'

Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of Gulf Restoration Network, says that after five years, there are more questions than answers Tar balls can still be found on the beach of Grande Terre, an island off the Louisiana coast.about what the lingering impact of the spill means. "Dolphin deaths continue, oil is still on the bottom of the ocean, tar balls keep coming up," she says. "And nobody really is able to say what we may find in five years, 10 years. It's really distressing to me."
Sarthou says there's no certainty the spill won't be a problem for generations to come. "It's not publicly seen but it is out there. It's in the marine environment," she says. "And so whether we see it or not the potential impacts of its presence may plague us for decades."
But BP senior vice president Geoff Morrell says the signs are good for a healthy Gulf.
"There is nothing to suggest other than that the Gulf is a resilient body of water that has bounced back strongly," he says. "The Gulf has not been damaged anywhere near the degree some people feared it would have in the midst of the spill." Under federal law, BP will have to pay to restore the damage to natural resources caused by its spill — a scientific assessment that is ongoing and could take years to resolve.

Tar balls can still be found on the beach of Grande

BP also faces a court judgment that could top $13 billion in an ongoing liability case. A New Orleans federal judge has ruled that BP's gross negligence and willful misconduct are to blame for the disaster. Morrell says BP has already spent $28 billion on response and cleanup and to pay economic claims to oil spill victims. He says the company has changed its safety procedures, and pre-deployed capping stacks around the world that could more quickly shut down an out-of-control well. "The Deepwater Horizon accident was a tragedy. It was deeply regrettable," says Morrell. "And we have done everything possible to learn from it." There's no sign of oil on the breezy public beach in Gulf Shores, Ala., where kids play in the surf. The line of colorful umbrellas today along the pristine white sand is a far cry from five years ago. "Five years ago you'd see oil all over our beach and you'd see no people here," says Mayor Robert Craft. "Our beaches were ruined."
Now Craft says they have recovered and visitors are coming back. But the disaster was a huge blow, both economically and environmentally, and he's not sure it's over.
"Economically we're doing really well and the environment seems to be short-term looking well, too," he says. "But what we don't know is the long-term environmental consequences of this. It just hasn't been long enough to know."

Some Industries Still Reeling

Tourists have flocked back to the beaches of Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, helped in part by an ad campaign paid for by BP. Other coastal industries are still trying to come back. In Bon Secour, Ala., fourth-generation oysterman Chris Nelson shows off his family's seafood processing plant, Bon Secour Fisheries. About a dozen shuckers are at work at stainless steel tables, slipping a knife into oyster shells to extract the meat. "We call this our opening house," Nelson says. "A lot of people call this a shucking house." Half the tables here are idle. "Our business is still struggling here at Bon Secour Fisheries because of the lack of oyster production," Nelson says.

"I place the blame for that on the oil spill." Nelson is on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. He says one of the most productive public oyster reefs in the country — east of the Mississippi river off the Louisiana coast — is not producing like it should. "That was maybe not coincidentally the closest place to where the spill was occurring, where the leak was," Nelson says. "That area still has not produced an appreciable number of oysters, and has not recruited any young oysters to speak of since the spill." Nelson says it's not clear whether the reef was harmed by exposure to oil, or by the freshwater that was released in Louisiana in hopes of pushing it away. Either way, he says, it's a problem that needs resolving. "The economy of this region has been damaged tremendously," Nelson says. "BP has done a lot to bring us back. But again the commitment by both the administration and by BP was to get us back better than we were before. I don't think we're better than we were before."

Kirk: So what kind of combat training do you have? Sulu: Fencing.
~ Sulu played by George Takei on Star Trek turns 78 today


Team Down East