Wild American salmon is universally acclaimed as an ideal protein; heart healthy, delicious, and sustainably managed. Our magnificent bounty, particularly in Alaska, is coveted around the globe, so much in fact that 70 percent of the US wild salmon harvest is exported, while over 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the US comes from outside the US. This is not only a sign of a very broken supply chain, but a clear acknowledgment that Americans do not recognize nature’s incredible gift of the world’s greatest wild salmon run.
Adding insult to injury, a new Oceana study collected 82 salmon samples from restaurants and grocery stores and found that 43 percent were mislabeled. DNA testing confirmed that most of the mislabeling (69 percent) consisted of farmed salmon being sold as wild-caught product. “Americans might love salmon, but as our study reveals, they may be falling victim to a bait and switch,” said Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana. “When consumers opt for wild-caught U.S. salmon, they don’t expect to get a farmed or lower-value product of questionable origins. This type of seafood fraud can have serious ecological and economic consequences. Not only are consumers getting ripped off, but responsible U.S. fishermen are being cheated when fraudulent products lower the price for their hard-won catch.”
Wild salmon season is just a small fraction of the year, and in spite of well documented issues concerning farmed salmon, some chefs remain afraid of frozen salmon. With recent advances in blast freezing technologies we are now able to deliver pristine wild salmon quick frozen at the height of freshness that when carefully refreshed under refrigeration can be “fresher than fresh”. Taste tests have yielded some remarkable results among top chefs: some have been heard to say that “frozen is the new fresh”.
Last week NOAA released their annual State of U.S. Fisheries report, and here are some highlights:
- 2014 report shows the number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished is at an all-time low.
- Estimated U.S. per capita consumption of fish and shellfish was 14.6 pounds (edible meat) in 2014, essentially unchanged from the 14.5 pounds consumed in 2013.
- The FAO estimates that nearly half of the world’s consumption of seafood now comes from aquaculture, with 89 percent of global production coming from Asia.
We have been shipping some beautiful green sea urchins to some of our favorite chefs. Dougie the Diver works off his 13 foot Boston Whaler out of Marblehead, MA accompanied by Scruffy, his loyal Golden Retriever dive mate. The water is getting cold, but the urchins are sweet.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team