Putting seafood’s best foot forward

August 19, 2015 — Deck to Dinner, a new initiative launched in the United Kingdom last week, aims to repair damage done by years of ignorant information printed in the media, which have given the seafood industry a poor reputation according to Barry Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO).

Inspiration for the initiative comes in the form of data from a survey by Research Now, which reveals that despite two thirds of us now eating fish once a week and supermarkets reporting increases in wet fish sales, 90 percent of people are only comfortable cooking familiar fish that is pre-prepared.

Deck to Dinner also builds on the latest research from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which shows there has been a “dramatic reduction in fishing pressure” across North Atlantic commercial fish stocks as a result of strict management plans. The data show that between 2006 and 2015, the number of stocks fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield, which is seen as the gold standard of sustainability, increased from two to 36.

“We have been working with chefs for a while now, asking them to create recipes using underutilized species of sustainably sourced seafood, to prove they are just as versatile as the seafood staples. The aim is to get the media and the public to understand that there are sustainable and tasty alternatives to eating salmon, cod, haddock, tuna and prawns, which account for over 70 percent of all U.K. seafood sales,” explained Deas.

Read the full story at SeafoodSource.com

Fish oil could help prevent mental health problems in those most at risk

August 11, 2015 — Eating more fish or taking regular fish oil supplements may help prevent psychosis in those most at risk, researchers claim.

A three month course of daily fish oil capsules appeared to significantly reduce the rate of psychotic disorders in young people, an improvement that seemed to persist when doctors assessed their mental health seven years later.

But while the findings are intriguing, they come from a very small study of teenagers and young adults. The benefits must now be shown in a much larger group before doctors can make any recommendations about the use of fish oils to prevent mental health problems.

Paul Amminger at the University of Melbourne reported in 2010 that a three month course of daily fish oil capsules appeared to stave off psychotic illnesses in teenagers and young adults aged 13 to 24 deemed at high risk of developing the disorders. Seven years on, his group has now revisited 71 of the original 81 participants and shown that the protective effects seem to persist.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists report that 4 out of 41 of those who took fish oil for three months had developed psychosis in the seven years since, compared with 16 out of 40 who received a placebo capsule during the trial.

Read the full story at The Guardian

PAUL GREENBERG: Three Simple Rules for Eating Seafood

June 13, 2015 — Nearly a decade ago, the writer Michael Pollan advised: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Ever since, a certain kind of progressive supermarket aisle has emerged: “Real” foods, calorie-limited portions and vegetarianism (or at least Meatless Mondays) have become culinary aspirations for millennials and boomers alike.

Mr. Pollan’s advice is sound. But what about the 71 percent of the Earth’s surface that provides humans with 350 billion pounds of food every year? How do you make rules for our oceans and freshwater ecosystems, whose vast production is, even in this increasingly mechanized world, still more than half wild?

Since I first read Mr. Pollan’s haiku-like dictum, I have been trying to be like Mike — i.e., to work out a seafood three-liner that would be as concise, elegant and free from exceptions as his. I can’t say that I have been entirely successful. No sooner do I present a draft idea at a local seafood forum than I get shouted down by a New England dragger captain whose cod doesn’t fill the bill.

But rules are useful no matter the exceptions. And since World Oceans Day was this month, I thought I would offer up my own, admittedly clunky, variation:

Eat American seafood.

A much greater variety than we currently do.

Mostly farmed filter feeders.

Some explanations are in order.

Read the full story at The New York Times

June is National Seafood Month — 50 Seafood Recipes That’ll Make Your Mouth Water!

June 12, 2015 — Happy National Seafood Month! There are so many ways to prepare seafood — baked, broiled, grilled, fried, sautéed…the list goes on and on. There is also a huge variety of different kinds of seafood. The fish and shellfish you have available to you may depend on where you live and what body of water is closest. Imagine a plate of perfectly seared, succulent scallops resting on a bed of creamy risotto, a crispy skin-on salmon steak atop a colorful salad, or a buttery-soft piece of sea bass just waiting to melt in your mouth when you take that first bite. There are few things more satisfying that a great seafood dinner, and lucky for you, I’ve got an incredible list of seafood-centric recipes that’ll keep you on your toes in the kitchen. For those of you looking to break out of a “meat and potatoes” kind of meal plan, this is the place to start!

Read the full story from Community Table

Freezing Fish, Killing Parasites?

May 15, 2015 — Q. Does deep-freezing fish kill harmful parasites?

A. It can if the food gets cold enough and stays that way long enough, according to guidelines for the food industry from theFood and Drug Administration.

For disease-causing parasites like tapeworms, roundworms and flukes, which may infest raw or undercooked fish, freezing can be the answer, but its effectiveness varies. It works best for tapeworms and appears to be somewhat less effective for roundworms and flukes

Read the full story from The New York Times

 

FDA: No Risk to Public From Mercury in Swordfish

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – May 1, 2015 – Last week we reported that the FDA had removed the Import Alert subjecting swordfish to mercury inspection, because the Administration found a majority of swordfish shipped to the US market are safe for public consumption.

This week, a spokesman followed up by saying the “FDA has found that mercury levels in almost all imported swordfish have been at levels that the agency considers safe.”

The Alert gave the FDA authority to automatically hold all imported shipments of swordfish and processed swordfish products from any foreign country unless they were from shippers on the FDA Green List.

Last week an email from the FDA said the Administration had canceled enforcement of IA 16-08.

“At this time, FDA is not enforcing the action level of 1 ppm for mercury in swordfish; therefore, IA 16-08 would not apply,” the email said.

Multiple sources said this was an usual move by the FDA to completely remove an IA number from the list. Some speculated the FDA was working on a rewrite of the Alert.

However, this week the FDA confirmed why it no longer found 16-08 necessary.

“FDA removed the import alert after determining that there have been very few recent instances in which the agency detained swordfish shipments as a result of the import alert.  FDA has found that mercury levels in almost all imported swordfish have been at levels that the agency considers safe.”

“FDA therefore no longer believed that the import alert served a public health benefit,” said  Jason Stachman-Miller, from the FDA’s Strategic Communications and Public Engagement division.

This story originally appeared on Seafood.com, a subscription site. It is reprinted with permission.

 

IFFO’s Andrew Jackson: Aquafeed, marine ingredient harvests sustainable

May 1, 2015 — On April 10, the New York Times published a misleading opinion piece titled “The Cost of Trout Fishing” that mischaracterized aquaculture and the fisheries that provide marine products for aquafeed as unsustainable. Dr. Andrew Jackson, Technical Director of IFFO, The Marine Ingredients Organisation, submitted a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to this opinion piece. The New York Times declined to publish Dr. Jackson’s letter, but Saving Seafood is publishing it here.

Dr. Jackson is the recipient of the 2015 Seafood Champion Leadership Award for his leadership in working with stakeholders to raise awareness of the need for responsible production of fishmeal and fish oil. Since 2006, Dr. Jackson has been the driving force for sustainable production in Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. Today, more than 100 fishmeal and fish oil production plants across nine countries are now independently certified to the IFFO’s standard, representing approximately 40% of global production.

See Dr. Jackson’s letter in response to “The Cost of Trout Fishing” 

 

 

Conquering the fear of cooking fish

April 27, 2015 — Fear of fish can afflict even the most confident cook.

Fewer and fewer fish have crossed my stove in recent years. This is partly out of guilt, because wild species are so often out of season or endangered, and farmed fish are so often unappealing.

It is partly because in my apartment, to cook fish for dinner is to live with its smell for a day and a half. And it is partly because I ate so much fancy fish in restaurants to make up for my failings as a home cook that I had forgotten how delicious a simple buttery pan-fried fillet can be.

Read the full story from The Hamilton Spectator

Conquering the Fear of Cooking Fish

April 20, 2015 — Fear of fish can afflict even the most confident cook.

Fewer and fewer fish have crossed my stove in recent years. This is partly out of guilt, because wild species are so often out of season or endangered, and farmed fish are so often unappealing. It is partly because in my apartment, to cook fish for dinner is to live with its smell for a day and a half. And it is partly because I ate so much fancy fish in restaurants to make up for my failings as a home cook that I had forgotten how delicious a simple buttery pan-fried fillet can be.

The modern fashion in restaurants is to serve fillets swimming in a broth, juice or nage (as if returning to water is somehow natural for cooked fish). Other chefs like oil-poaching, which involves a slow simmer in gallons of top-quality oil; expensive and impractical for Tuesday-night dinner at home.

And others recommend that home cooks start with en papillote: folding up individual fillets in parchment paper with butter and herbs, which steams the fish and produces a kind of thin broth. This is not a thrilling outcome.

For weeknight home cooking, I wanted a way to cook a fish fillet the way I cook all my favorite proteins (steaks, shrimp, lamb chops): quickly, simply and over high-enough heat to bring on the browning that makes food crisp, appetizing and fragrant. (Food science nerds call them Maillard reactions.) But a simple sear in oil isn’t the answer for fish: overcooked and flavorless fillets are the result.

Read the full story and watch the video from The New York Times

Savoring sea scallops year-round

April 8, 2015 — “A pint’s a pound the world around” is an old-time expression my grandmother used when portioning up gallons of food. With the Maine scalloping season coming to a close, I am remembering this as we are freezing packages of the delicious bivalve to enjoy for the remainder of the year.

Scallops freeze quite nicely if the oxygen has been removed and the package heat-sealed. Yes, you really need a machine. This is a place where zipper-type bags or plastic freezer containers don’t do the trick. We’ve “discovered” packages of scallops buried in the freezer over two years that were still plump and flavorful.

We usually freeze two gallons, or 16 pounds, and the whole process from start to finish takes about two hours. I start by gently rinsing the scallops and removing the hard, rubbery muscle. You can discard the muscle, or I freeze it to later use in a preparing a fish stock.

Divide the scallops into meal sizes, keeping in mind that an average serving size is 4 ounces, or about four scallops. We divide our scallops into packages of 4, 8 or 16. A meal for two is a package of eight. A package of 16 feeds four, or two, with encores (leftovers) for a second meal. My mother, who lives alone, appreciates the smaller, 4-ounce package size.

Read the full story at the Ellsworth American