2016 is looking like a breakout year for underappreciated fish species to start feeling the love. Diners are looking to eat more healthy seafood, looking to expand their comfort zones, looking for new favorite fish. Whole Foods Market experts have identified ‘uncommon meat and seafood’ as the number one trend for the coming year, with species like “wild-caught blue catfish easing pressure on popular picks like salmon, tuna and shrimp“. Smart chefs are finding more aware diners desiring more choice, and finding better margins while better supporting traditional fishermen and their communities.
Maritime historians, climate scientists and ordinary citizens are coming together on a project to study the logbooks of 19th-century whaling ships to better understand modern-day climate change and Arctic weather patterns. The project, called Old Weather: Whaling is finding descriptions of Arctic seas very different from what we are seeing today. NOAA’s Kevin Wood called it a “virtual time-traveling weather satellite”. As waters warm, we are seeing a rush by nations, especially Russia, to gain control of natural resources in once inaccessible regions.
There is a focus on Antarctic resources that are up for grabs, like abundant sea life. China and South Korea, both of which operate state-of-the-art bases there, are ramping up their fishing of krill, the shrimplike crustaceans found in abundance in the Southern Ocean, while Russia recently thwarted efforts to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries. Scientists believe that three-quarters of the global ocean’s biological production outside the Southern Ocean is maintained by nutrients originating from the Southern Ocean’s upwelling supply. This is a source of our entire food system, and an issue that deserves our attention.
One man who is focused on improving the food system is Chef Tom Colicchio, whose ‘Wichcraft sandwich chain is serving better fish. In Alaska, our friends Linda Beneken and Norm Van Vactor report on their work to assure Alaska’s future, basically concluding that if “we put fish first, we will prosper for generations”. An excellent thought.
One of the great legends of the sea is the giant squid, the size of ships of ancient mariners. The first actual photographs appeared a decade ago in Japan. “This has been a mystery for a thousand years,” Richard Ellis, author of “Monsters of the Sea,” said of the photographs at the time. “Nobody knew what they looked like in the wild.” An amazing video was recently posted of a 12 foot ‘baby’ giant squid in Japan’s Toyama Bay, northwest of Tokyo. Oh, mama.
Sea to Table continues to grow, and is in the market for some awesome fishlovers to add to a great team. Please shout if you know any.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team