October is National Seafood Month, and Eileen Sobeck of NOAA Fisheries gives a good account of America’s leadership in fisheries management and the vastly improved state of our wild fish stocks. But fish, called by scientists the world’s best athletes, are but one leg of the seafood sustainability stool; without fishermen and the fishing communities they support, there is no seafood.
Jan Margenson lives in Brewster, MA, and keeps his boat between Chatham and Harwich depending on where the fish are schooled up. These are small towns on Cape Cod that endure short summers of tourist mayhem, but survive on the year-round bounty of the sea. Cape Cod is named for the fabled Codfish whose days have passed due to overfishing, mismanagement, and warming ocean temperatures. Now, Jan targets lesser known, under-loved delicious species such as Monkfish, Winter Skate, and Dogfish, all of which are making their way onto restaurant menus and dinner tables across the country. Jan fishes a 40′ boat named the F/V Great Pumpkin with a stable 17′ wide beam.
His catch is transported along with others from the small boat fleet to the larger fishing port of New Bedford, MA just across the Cape Cod canal. There the fish is immediately filleted, portioned, and blast frozen in a liquid nitrogen freezer tunnel at nearly -100F locking in the freshness of that morning’s catch. It is then custom packed and transported on freezer trucks across the country to regional cold storage facilities for next day delivery. Refreshed slowly under refrigeration, properly frozen fish can be fresher than fresh. We think this helps people eat better fish.
We are now seeing some fresh Boston Mackerel around Cape Cod. On the west coast the Washington Pink Shrimp fishery received Marine Stewardship Council certification last week. And across the pond in Europe, the world’s largest importer of fish with 24% of world harvest, EU Commissioner for maritime Affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, announced in a communication on the EU Regulation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing that the Commission will introduce a digital system by the end of 2016. This impressive milestone will mark a new era in the global fight against IUU fishing.
Last week legendary chef Emeril Lagasse cooked up some beautiful Beaufort, NC shrimp and red drum, along with some Mobjack oysters at a Food and Wine dinner at Olamaie in Austin, TX. Sorry to have missed that.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team