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Fish Issues?????

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, if this has been covered in the last 6 months I apologize for bringing the subject up again. After watching "Happy Feet" and reading the fishing National Geographic the plight of our loss of enormous fish resources has diminished significantly in the past 10 years.....like more than all the years combined prior to.....we all were aware of the swordfish deal where they were being overfished to the point that the steaks were coming in smaller and the population could not recover as quickly as the harvesting.....same for Patagonia tooth fish, now shrimp and cod.......

Not to put anyone on the spot, but are you buying fish from the "ok list"?
What about farm fish?

Just more aware because of an animated movie how dire the world's water ecology is in huge flux.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....

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post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Peter Berley, a visiting author was going to be writing a small fish cookbook....which would be wonderful for those of us not familiar with preserving, cleaning and cooking (preparing) small fish.....so anyone using
the little guys, and how?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 10
I['m not sure how little you mean here (not having seen the source material you mentioned). I use smelts, porgies and whitting when I get the chance, which is not too often these days. I'm an ex-pat atlantic Canadian living in Ontario now and am missing the fish. Are you familier with the work of Ransom Myers? He was a briliant, thoughtful man with a good soul. He will be remebered as one of the first to signal the warning cry for the global fishery. I knew him a very little when I was a Librarian at Dalhousie University. I wish we had the chance to speak as scientist and culinarian.
post #4 of 10

Take a pass on krab flakes.

I was told a while back (mid 80's) that the overfishing of everything was and still is the problem. The big fish and the feeder fish. Overfishing the smaller fish like pollack and smelt is also making the big fish compete for food by removing their foodsource. Like everything the resource is finite. But we have been fishing like its stripmining for the past few decades or more that I have been aware of. So one thing I have tried to do as much as I could for the past 20 years is to buy line-caught fin fishes. I did that so as to not buy as many of the varieties that are caught using the miles-long nets that catch and kill everything and at the same time removing the feed for the predatory fish I like to cook. Hope this helps.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
post #5 of 10
i think i posted a topic some time back on products that are endangered and such. i think there should be a sticky topic on ingredients, be it fishes, meats or veg (if they are) that are endangered and should be a point which we can go back upon to make sure what we're cooking with is sustainable. farmed fish and prawns aren't tahat great it seems as the farms also destroy mangroves which are where their built. this destroys the eco system resutling in alot of trouble for the world. kind of like an endless loop of destruction and needs.
post #6 of 10

local, local, local

Obviously there's nothing that compares to some of the finer ocean fish, however, there is always the option of supporting your local fishing industry. Then you can always go to the operation and see for yourself if they are using sustainable practices. Here in Mn. we have many options for local trout, and walleye, it's reasonably priced, and as with anything, if prepared well it tastes fantastic. In reference to the preserving of small fish, they can be treated in many ways like any other fish, or meat product, they can be smoked, pickled, cured, or sous vide for example.
post #7 of 10
Your emotions are playing right into the hands of the activists.
The Give Swordfish a Break campaign was a complete manipulation project and had nothing to do with swordfish being overfished at all.

Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonian Toothfish) is one of the most highly regulated fisheries in the world.

The red/yellow/green cards that Monterey Bay Aquarium hand out are so wrought with politics and money it would make you sick.

Link here to learn more
Falling for the Swordfish Campaign: Hook Lie and Sinker

The Cat Man
post #8 of 10
That article is 8 years old. Show me something current.

Around here, the good restaurants, the good fish mongers, and many of the markets, make it a point to keep up to date on what's happening with the fish population, and they post information about the latest status of various fish in their establishments.

Frankly, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution with this and similar issues. In any case, there's enough science and anectodtal evidence out there to indicate the problem with our fish stocks.

post #9 of 10
If you go to the NOAA website, and click the link to National Marine Fisheries Service, you will find a link to the annual report on the status of US based fisheries by specie.

That will tell you what's overfished, threatened and sustainable.
You can also find this info at the National Fisheries Institute website.

You will find that by federal law, any fishery deemed overfished or threatened must be addressed with specific conservation measures.

A good example would be yellow tail flounder and the New England scallop fishery.

They have to stop scallop fishing when the 30,000 lb flounder bycatch is caught.

This is very heavily monitored and enforced.

Trust me when I tell you that most fishermen care more about sustainablility than a lot of people realize.

Did you know this past fall that the scallop fishermen recommended their own quota reduction to ensure a sustainable resource?

The Cat Man
post #10 of 10
Per your request, I thought I'd post this relatively recent report by Ocean Trust

Cat Man

Ocean Trust, 11921 Freedom Drive, Suite 550-PMB 5580, Reston, VA 20190
Tel (703) 450-9852 Fax (703) 450-9853 Email: tjlassen@oceantrust.org
Fishery Reports Highlight Progress
In the most recent Report to Congress on the Status of US Fisheries issued in May 2004
(www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/reports.html), NOAA Fisheries announced that the general
biological trend for the status of US stocks continues to be positive. Of the 894 federally
managed fish stocks, only 8.5% are classified as overfished and 6.7% are experiencing
In 2003, overfishing was stopped on spiny dogfish, summer flounder, South Atlantic
yellowtail snapper, North Atlantic swordfish, and blacktip shark. The total number of
stocks subject to overfishing declined from 66 to 60 in 2003 continuing a gradual, but
overall positive trend from 1997 when there were 91 stocks subject to overfishing.
In 2003, ten species were taken off
the list of overfished stocks. These
include North Atlantic swordfish,
Pollock, summer flounder, monkfish,
red grouper, blacktip shark, sandbar
shark, South Atlantic yellowtail
snapper, blue king crab and tanner
Since 1997, the number of
overfished stocks has declined from
106 to 76 stocks. These stocks are
being managed under recovery programs, which limit fishing activities to allow for stock
rebuilding and some economic stability for local fishing communities. Rebuilding
programs are in place for almost all overfished stocks. By 2002, a total of 75 rebuilding
plans were in place with the remaining few in development.
There are many stocks for which NOAA has no status information. NOAA reports it
does not assess the status of many stocks because they are not targeted in fisheries and
have a low probability of becoming overfished. The status of these stocks is listed as
“unknown” because NOAA has not collected sufficient information to conduct
assessments and make status determinations.
In 2003 NOAA reviewed 909 stocks, but focus the majority of its resources on 267 major
stocks, those with landings over 200,000 pounds, which account 99.9% of landings.
Highlights on the status of some individual stocks follow.

Atlantic Groundfish – The spawning
stock biomass for Georges Bank cod,
haddock, yellowtail and winter flounder
have increased since 1995 while the
exploitation rate has been dramatically
lowered through fishery regulations. The
NMFS Spring stock surveys show a
dramatic increase in haddock, yellowtail
and cod. The total stock biomass of 11
multi-species stocks tracked in New
England has returned to 1989 levels from
a low in 1994. During the past two Gulf
of Maine fishing seasons, inshore fishermen have had their best summer seasons in a
decade and now complain about the over abundance of cod of all sizes, restrictions that
limit landings, and problems of staying away from cod in other fisheries.
Atlantic Swordfish – Contrary to seafood guide summaries, the biomass of North
Atlantic swordfish is increasing as a result of ICCAT management action taken back in
1997 prior to the “Give Swordfish A Break” campaign.
“The management actions taken by the Commission in 1997 to 1999 clearly demonstrate
the resilience of swordfish, and the responsiveness of the stock to a decrease in fishing
mortality. With just two years of management under the strict quota scenario, there are
positive signs from the fishery in terms of catch rates” (ICCAT SCRS Swordfish Species
Group 1999).
Calls for consumer avoidance of North Atlantic swordfish in the past were based on
claims that the average size of swordfish declined from 266 pounds in the 1960s to 90
pounds in the 1990s, and suggested that the size of breeding stock was too small. The
difference in average size caught is actually due to gear used and still exists today. The
harpoon catch, which dominated in the
1960s targeted large females that bask on
the surface. Longlines, which entered
the fishery later are fished across age and
size groups. Harpoon data show the
average size of harpoon catch at 230
pounds (1998), while 1999 average
longline catch is at 99.8 pounds.
The management regulations from the International Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) instituted before the swordfish campaign began have protected
the spawning stock and produced positive increases in North Atlantic swordfish, thus
calling into question the value of consumer boycotts that only appear to have generated
negative economic impacts for U.S. fishermen and confusion in the market with little
conservation benefit.

represented by five stocks as follows: West Coast, Goose Island Gully, Gulf of Alaska,
Aleutian Islands, and Eastern Bering Sea. All were severely overfished by distant water
fleets in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Pacific Ocean Perch stocks toward the center of its
distribution have rebuilt strongly and are no longer overfished (GOA, AI, EBS) while
stocks at the southern limit of distribution have been slow to rebuild.
Bering Sea/Aleutian Island Groundfish
Over half of the US landed products comes
from Alaska fisheries in the Bering Sea and
Aleutian Islands of which groundfish is the
single largest component. No groundfish
stocks from the North Pacific and Alaska
fisheries are considered overfished. Pollock
biomass is near all time high levels with 2002
overfishing level of 3.54 million metric tons,
an acceptable biological catch (ABC) level of
2.1 million metric tons and the total allowable
catch (TAC) set conservatively at 1.5 million
metric tons leaving an estimated 22 billion pounds of Pollock swimming in US waters off
Alaska. Critical habitat areas have been established to protect Steller sea lions and
bycatch of prohibited species in the Bering Sea trawl fisheries such as halibut, salmon,
herring and crab average less than 1% of the biomass of these species. Waste of salmon
and halibut bycatch also has been reduced by allowing bycatch to be donated to food
Chilean Sea Bass (Patagonian Toothfish)
Illegal and unregulated fishing for Patagonian toothfish outside of the quotas and
regulations established the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living
Resources (CCAMLR) led to the adoption of a Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) to
track and monitor the harvest and trade of Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish. The CDS
program requires that all landings, transshipments, and importation of toothfish into
CCAMLR member countries like the United States be accompanied by a catch tracking
document in order to monitor international trade, identify the origins of imports, and
determine if imports were caught consistent with CCAMLR conservation measures.
NMFS instituted the program in the U.S. in May of 2000 to discourage unlawful harvests
and give “U.S. consumers confidence that the seafood they eat is legally and sustainably
caught” (NMFS 2000). All Chilean sea bass imported
into the United States is monitored by NMFS and
requires special permits to import this species. The
CCAMLR has adopted flag state licensing measures
for fishing vessels, annual catch quotas, vessel
monitoring systems, and identification of fishing gear
to further control the management of toothfish.
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