Twenty years ago, the California ground fishery was officially declared dead. Strict management was imposed, causing great hardship on traditional west coast fishing communities. Just two years ago studies showed populations of the groundfish complex had been rebuilt, and the fishery was certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship council and declared green or yellow by our partners at Seafood Watch.
Last week Sea to Table’s Sean Dimin and Travis Riggs traveled the California coast visiting old friends and meeting new ones. First stop was sleepy Bodega Bay, 90 minutes north of San Francisco, where we are working with a group of boats, and hope to soon start shipping California King Salmon. Next was a visit with our friend Kenny Belov at Pier 45 on Fisherman’s Wharf in SF. They are increasing landings of varied fish, and we would like to share them widely. Further south near Santa Cruz were brothers Daniel and Richard Deyerle of Moss Landing running offshore in 35 foot boats. They are landing Black Cod and Rockfish as well as the underloved California Grenadier, an ugly deep water fish with low market value and a taste reminding some of Orange Roughy. According to Travis “Most fish are still alive when they hit the dock.” At Morro Bay on the Central Coast they visited the Seitz family, and proceeded to Santa Barbara where we hope to soon start shipping. The trip ended in San Diego where a wide range of pelagics and demersals are landing. We look forward to sharing all this seafood with not just California chefs, but with chefs everywhere who want to do some California Dreamin’.
Across the continent on Cape Cod, our efforts to develop a better market for the ubiquitous Atlantic Spiny Dogfish are striking a chord. Campus dining systems and hip restaurants are singing its praise, and last week home meal-kit provider Plated began delivering dogfish to home chefs. Our fishermen in Chatham, MA are excited to be developing a new “cash crop” to replace their traditional target of Atlantic Cod who have swum to cooler waters. Affordable, sustainable, healthy and delicious dogfish is a winning menu item for all.
North of Boston we have begun working in the iconic seaport of Gloucester, last week sending Haddock from the F/V Morue and Dayboat Scallops from the F/V Capt’n Lee. Further south, the saga of “The Codfather” continues with New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos A. Rafael being indicted on 27 criminal counts in U.S. District Court, including conspiracy, falsifying federal records and bulk cash smuggling, and having his bail increased to $2MM. If we want our grandchildren to enjoy wild fish, we need to follow the rules.
Our friends at Ludivine in OKC seem to really be enjoying the early season Soft Shell Crabs from the Chesapeake. And the fast moving trend to eating invasive species seems to be gathering steam. If you can’t beat ’em, eat ‘em.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team