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Seafood News That You Can Use
Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

Tell the Gov to Veto CA Senate Bill 1138!

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 15:49

On August 29, the California legislature passed a bill that would add a significant new burden on restaurants serving seafood. This bill will have a significant impact on you and your waitstaff, and we encourage you to STAND UP and fight for your right to serve seafood in the state of California!

Here’s a little bit of background:

Senate bill 1138, states:

“A restaurant that sells or offers for sale any fresh, frozen, or processed fish or shellfish intended for human consumption, wild caught or farm raised, shall identify the species of fish or shellfish by its common name for the consumer in writing, or orally if not identified in writing, at the time the consumer orders the fish or shellfish. It is unlawful for a restaurant to knowingly misidentify the species of fish or shellfish in violation of this paragraph.”
The bill does not include an exemption allowing restaurant staff to inform the customer only if the customer asks for the Common Name.

The bill states that a restaurant shall identify the fish by its Common Name for the consumer in writing or orally at the time the consumer orders the fish.

For more, See Section 2 (a) (2) of Senate Bill 1138.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Seafood List provides “Acceptable Market Names” for fish. The CA legislation would require wait staff (at tables or the counter) to identify the fish by its Common Name at the time of order.

Just imagine the following scenarios:

  • A waitress would need to inform a customer ordering shrimp whether the shrimp was “Kadal Shrimp” or “Marsh Grass Shrimp” or “Jinga Shrimp” or one 30 possible Common Names for specific shrimp species.
  • A worker at a food truck accepting an order for a mahi fish taco would need to inform the customer “at the time the customer orders” that she will be served dolphinfish.
  • Hotel restaurant staff would need to know and immediately inform a guest that his “Rockfish” was actually “Splitnose Rockfish” or “Swordspine Rockfish” or “Bronzespotted Rockfish” to comply with this law.

It would be impossible for waitstaff to know the more than 1,850 Common Names of the fish served daily at California restaurants … and the law states a restaurant shall provide the Common Name when the customer orders the fish.

TAKE ACTION!

The California legislature has adjourned for the year so there is no opportunity for the legislature to fix this legislation. The only option is for Governor Brown to veto the legislation and avoid restaurants from being required to train wait and counter staff on the more than 1,850 Common Names of fish served at restaurants.

Governor Brown’s staff on this legislation includes:

Lark Park, Deputy Legislative Secretary at Lark.Park@gov.ca.gov.
Mr. Park’s assistant is Michael Mullaney, michael.mullaney@gov.ca.gov.

If your restaurant believes that the Governor should veto this legislation based on this unworkable mandate, you should contact Mr. Park as soon as possible.

If you prefer to write a letter to Governor Brown, it should be addressed to:

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr. Governor, State of California State Capitol, First Floor Sacramento, California 95814

Mr. Park should be copied on any letters.

If you want further information, please view this video to understand how CA Senate Bill 1138 will harm your business.

Great News for Local Fish & Fishermen

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 10:10

Some Very good news from the hard working team at Seafood Watch has been buzzing in the news all week!  They recently announced that all groundfish caught in California, Oregon and Washington are either now ranked a Seafood Watch “Good Alternative” or “Best Choice”. This reflects a continuing pattern of improvement for U.S.-managed fisheries.

Factors contributing to fishery improvements and recommendation upgrades include

  1. Reductions in the catch of overfished species,
  2. Additional species stock assessments, and
  3. Area closures to protect vulnerable habitat

According to Seafood Watch, The new assessments also factor in other other fishery management efforts, including quotas that better take uncertainty into account and the implementation of catch shares, which contributed to species upgrades.

Here are a few exciting highlights that pertain directly to our inventory:

  • Major flatfish species – including Dover sole and Petrale sole have been upgraded from “Good Alternative” to “Best Choice”
  • Sablefish from California, Washington and Oregon are either a best choice or a good alternative depending on how they were harvested
  • All trawl- and longline-caught rockfish have been upgraded from “Avoid” to either “Good Alternative” or “Best Choice”

We think your customers will be as excited about this good news as we are all – please let us know how we can help you convey this (or any) sustainability message.

They may have also seen this piece in the Los Angeles Times (that’s the F/V Southbay in the picture – we buy fish from that vessel from our dock in Morro Bay)!  Make sure you have some of these species on your menu, and get your front of the house team up to speed on the news!

A Busy Month for RSVP Funding Recipients

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 11:45

Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this exciting update from some of our current RSVP Program funding recipients! So much good work going on out there, we’re glad to be a part of it!

Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program (AKCRRB)

A lot of great work happening in Alaska -here are some highlights from the program:

  • NOAA researchers at the Kodiak Laboratory released 11,250 juvenile red king crabs into Trident Basin, near Kodiak in August. The juveniles used in this experimental release were hatched from broodstock (seven adult females) captured in Alitak Bay, Kodiak Island.
  • Over the past few years, habitat and juvenile distribution surveys were conducted near the city of Kodiak, Old Harbor, and Alitak Bay to identify potential release sites.
  • In fall 2013, researchers released and followed about 5,000 hatchery-reared juveniles in Cozy Cove near the village of Old Harbor. o test how well hatchery-reared crabs survive in the wild and what factors affect their survival. The results should give researchers an idea of the optimal density to release red king crabs to maximize survival.
WWF Peruvian Mahi FIP

Establishing Mahi Mahi Fishing Season

  • On July 12th, the Peruvian Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) established the mahi mahi fishing season, open from October 1st to April 30th annually.
  • CLICK HERE to learn more…

  • WWF Peru played a key role in supporting the establishment of the mahi mahi fishing season, including collaborating with the Peruvian government’s fisheries research institution IMARPE on research projects key to understanding the dynamics of the species, producing and promoting the ¿Qué Pasa Perico? documentary film that highlights the struggle of artisanal fishermen to ensure the sustainability of mahi mahi, and engaging in direct advocacy with local authorities and key stakeholders on the ground.
  • On August 9th, the ¿Qué Pasa Perico? documentary film, co-produced by WWF Peru and El Taller.pe, was screened for the public at the eighteenth annual Lima Film Festival.

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) meeting

At the 87th meeting of the IATTC held on July 14-18th, in addition to the tuna related topics, a discussion was held with the authorities of the General Directorate of Fisheries Management Policies and PRODUCE highlighting the importance of increased involvement in the Peru mahi mahi FIP.

Peruvian National Working Group

  • WWF has been working in coordination with IMARPE to promote the formation of the Peruvian National Working Group, a key milestones FIP Action Plan, and an important step in the formation of the International Working Groupfor the assessment of mahi mahi.
  • IMARPE, in collaboration with WWF Peru, will hold a national Workshop on mahi mahi to bring together all IMARPE staff involved in the research of mahi mahi in August 2014.
  • A critical next step, the Peruvian National Working Group will participate in the binational workshop between Peru and Ecuador to be held in September 2014, and in the regional workshop planned for October 2014.
HSWRI – Aquaculture

We’re so excited about the great work this group is doing locally!  Check out some of their efforts:

  • 80,000 fish are in growout pens (CI Harbor, King Harbor, Huntington Harbor, Newport Bay, Dana Point Harbor, SD Bay), with some planned for immediate release.
  • Field Surveys: First half of 2014 data was compiled; 2,304 fish were scanned for tags from both recreational and commercial fisheries.
  • Catalina WSB grow-out trial using soy oil based feed was concluded; results are pending.
  • New Yellowtail production run was initiated; additionally, 4 new Yellowtail broodstock pools are being constructed.
PIER Swordfish – Deep Set Buoy Gear

The PIER team initiated the 2014 gear trials in late July with two cooperative fishers, the F/V Gold Coast and the F/V Leah Gail. With very few swordfish being landed by the local harpoon fleet, the deep-set trials were initiated cautiously in an attempt to limit effort during periods of reduced swordfish abundance. Despite the slow harpoon season, the deep-set trials have begun to show promise, with the teams consistently catching swordfish over the past two weeks.

Despite lower effort, at present (8/2014) capture rates using the deep-set techniques have exceeded those of the harpoon fleet (a small group of approximately 10 vessels). Preliminary catch rates also suggest high selectivity for swordfish, with the occasional opah and bigeye thresher shark providing the only other forms of catch. The cooperative deep-set trials will continue through the summer and fall months and landings will be compared with those of existing gears.

Heal the Bay – Key to the Sea

The first classes of the 2014-2015 season begin next week with the real kick off happening on September 17th for our Coastal Cleanup Education Day, where 750 students come to the Santa Monica Pier for a day of educational activities, beach cleanup and aquarium experience.

Help Improve NOAA’s FishWatch.Gov

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:47

We use NOAA Fisheries FishWatch.gov website as a source for all kinds of information about the seafood industry; how stocks are managed, scientific data and more. The website is one of our first stops when we’re looking for details about the domestically harvested or farmed fish and shellfish that we sell, and it’s also a great source of news and information about all things seafood.

However, the team behind FishWatch.gov is looking to do an even better job bringing this useful information to the public, and they’re looking for your input. Please take a few minutes to explore the site, and then fill out this short survey to help NOAA Fisheries make FishWatch.gov an even better source of information.

They anticipate unveiling a new and improved website next year – we’ll be looking forward to checking it out!

Bristol Bay Still Needs your Voice

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 13:09

The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) has some important questions to ask you:

  • Do you eat wild, sustainable seafood or sell it in your restaurant?
  • Do you dream of going to Alaska and/or have you already been to the Last Frontier?
  • Do you believe that wild salmon matter and are worth protecting for future generations?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then we think you’re probably interested in taking a few minutes to help protect the millions of sockeye salmon that depend on Bristol Bay (along with more than 14,000 people’s jobs) from the threat of development. And not just any kind of development - the largest open-pit mine in North America, generating up to 10 billion tons of waste and threatening our nation’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

On July 18th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft set of restrictions designed to protect Bristol Bay’s salmon from the harmful impacts of large-scale mining (in particular the proposed Pebble Mine). They are accepting public comments between now and September 19th - you can use this easy method to send a public comment to the EPA. But don’t delay – they will only be taking public comments on the proposal until September 19.

The BBRSDA has a ton of useful information on their website along with an easy way to send comments to the EPA.  We hope you’ll join us in the fight to protect this amazing natural resource.

Good News for Scallop Lovers

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:17

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) scallop video survey team conducts an annual video survey of the George’s Bank scallop resource and this year’s study revealed some good news!

A press release from the SMAST team stated, “The video-based survey, conducted from May to July 2014, indicated a 32 percent, 77 million pound increase in the scallop population over 2012. The overall stock biomass measured in scallop meat weight is estimated at 320 million pounds compared 243 million pounds observed two years ago.”

According to the Chair of SMAST’s Department of Fisheries Oceanography, Dr. Kevin D. E. Stokesbury,

“Large increases of this size in scallop populations seem to occur once every 10 years or so. These small scallops will need to be monitored closely, tracking their distribution and any mortality.  If protected and managed correctly these scallops could insure sustainable catches similar to those over the past 10 years for the next 10 years.

Check out some footage from these annual video surveys - this short clip shows you the equipment used and has some nice footage of some sea life (who doesn’t love a good eel pout shot?)

And let your Santa Monica Seafood Rep know what kind of scallops you’re looking to add to your menu – we have a great selection!

Summer Update from our RSVP Program

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 13:27

It’s summertime, and our Responsible Sourcing Vendor Partner program grantees have been busy! Here are some updates from a few of our local California and Baja California projects! You can read more about each project on the RSVP webpage.

Fathom Consulting’s pelagic trawl gear improvement project is gearing up for the September field season where they expect to test the impacts of several different gear configurations on the sea floor. This involves working with the Monterey Sanctuary and the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to monitor the effects the experimental gears have on the surrounding environment. Further modifications are being made to the experimental trawl gear to make it both more user friendly and cost effective for fishermen, as well as less impactful to the marine environment.

The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) has been a longstanding member of Santa Monica Seafood’s RSVP program, conducting research on fish populations within California Marine Protected Areas. Every summer they conduct volunteer angling trips to catch and tag fish – a really fun way to study! They are currently scheduling and gearing up for their volunteer trips to be conducted this summer and early fall. As a reminder, if you would like to be a volunteer angler, sign up here.

COBI is another organization we have funded for several years now, working with fishing cooperatives in the Magdalena Bay region of Baja California Sur on fisheries sustainability. We’ve received some pretty good news from Mag Bay: the fishing cooperative named “Bahía Magdalena” decided just last month to renew their marine protected area for 3 more years! Their initial commitment was for 5 years (ending in December 2014). It was a pretty hard decision to make since in the short term it represents a big financial sacrifice. This sets a great precedent for conservation in this area, which is hit particularly hard with bycatch and overfishing.

The Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research team is working with NOAA scientists on the preparation of a scientific manuscript that documents the vertical and horizontal movements of swordfish within the Pacific Leatherback Closure Area (PLCA). The work details the movements of 13 swordfish tagged within the closure area and describes the potential for alternative fishery options for west coast sword fishers. The PIER team is also preparing for additional Southern California deep-set buoy gear trials in 2014. The work will be performed with two cooperative fishers and focus on documenting catch, fisher acceptance and feasibility. Currently, all gear sets have been purchased and the teams are awaiting the arrival of the summer swordfish run off Southern California!

Thanks for being part of this great program!

How Green is your Restaurant?

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 15:12

As an ISO 14001 Certified company we show our commitment to the environment in a variety of ways. ISO 14001 recognizes that standards throughout our entire operation help continually reduce our environmental impact. Although responsible sourcing is a key component of our approach, our commitment extends to all our departments.

We focus on a variety of approaches – we’re always improving our recycling systems, water usage, efficient routing of trucks and other processes to help reduce our impact on the environment and we’d like to hear from you about what your establishment does in a effort to “go green”.

From your choice of take-out containers to looking at composting food waste there are endless ways for restaurants to implement green business practices. Here are a few more simple ways to get started, but we’re interested in what you’re doing to innovate.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below!

Understanding Customers and Selling More Seafood

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:01

A new study by Constellation Brands research about different types of wine consumers had some interesting ideas that we think can easily apply to how you choose the seafood you’re offering your customers. This article on Beveragedaily.com outlines this 6 categories as:

  • Engaged Newcomers
  • Everyday Loyalists
  • Price Driven
  • Overwhelmed
  • Image Seekers
  • Enthusiasts

What does that have to do with your next seafood order? Everything! Each one of your customers is going to engage with the complicated world of seafood in their own way and understanding what motivates them is key to providing them with an amazing experience.

So, what are they thinking about? Engaged Newcomers and the Overwhelmed may have concerns with issues they see in the media – mercury, over fishing, mislabeling – all these hot topics leave consumers feeling confused. Training and education can keep you and your waitstaff on top of those issues (let us know how we can help!).

They may also be looking for mild fish in simple preparations. Pacific cod, salmon, domestic catfish, shrimp; these are “gateway” seafood choices that customers are comfortable with. Sustainability no brainers like wild Alaska salmon and halibut or famed clams and mussels make it easy. Check out the Seafood Watch Super Green list for even more suggestions.

Price Driven customers can benefit from our daily specials and seasonal price breaks. Right now Wild California Sea Bass is in season and pricing is great – get it on the menu now! High quality frozen seafood is another options. Our newest cod option – Village Cove Pot-Caught Pacific Cod – is an excellent fish choice at the right price.

Image seekers? Imagine Seafood Towers piled high with king crab legs and jumbo shrimp turn heads. Big lobster tails, caviar set ups, table side preparations, whatever causes a stir – get creative!

Enthusiasts are looking for seafood choices that they can really sink their teeth into – think “Trash Fish” as popularized by Chef’s Collaborative, or any number of options that come with unique and interesting stories. Who caught this fish and where? Add some locally sourced Sablefish and Rockfish from Morro Bay, Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, Uni Roe and oysters to your menu (and make sure your menu descriptions are as mouth watering as your recipes).

We’ve got such a wide range of seafood options you’ll have no problem reaching any type of consumer. Let us know how we can help you diversify your selection!

Alaska Cod – A Sustainable Option at a Great Price

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 14:35

We’re now offering a great new Alaska cod option perfect for a variety of menu options at an unbeatable price!

And it’s not just a good deal – it comes with a great story.

Village Cove Alaska Cod (COD281) is “pot caught” which is good for the ocean and even better for the quality of the fish!  The cod are lured into the pot/trap using bait, and they remain inside the trap until they’re harvested.  Bringing live fish onboard the vessel where they are quickly poke bled and placed in refrigerated sea water results in a very high quality product.  This is some of the nicest cod we’ve ever worked with!

The vessels that are fishing for Village Cove are making short trips and the cod they harvest is quickly prepared for freezing (bellies trimmed, collars and tails removed).  This cod has an amazing yield!

Additionally, this cod is harvested as part of the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program.  According to NOAA, “The purpose of the program is to provide western Alaska communities the opportunity to participate and invest in BSAI fisheries, to support economic development in western Alaska, to alleviate poverty and provide economic and social benefits for residents of western Alaska, and to achieve sustainable and diversified local economies in western Alaska.”

Ask your Santa Monica Seafood Representative about Village Cove Alaska Cod today!

Talk about a Crabby Baby!

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 06:15

We just heard from our friends at the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program that Kodiak red king crab have been successfully reared at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery for release experiments!

According to this month’s News Flash,

“AKCRRAB researchers reared red king crab larvae at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish hatchery this spring. The goals of the rearing season were to produce juveniles for outplanting research and to further test and refine hatchery protocols. Akhiok residents collected adult female crabs in fall 2013 from Alitak Bay on Kodiak Island in cooperation with NOAA Kodiak lab staff, who shipped the crabs to the hatchery in Seward.

After hatching in March, larvae were fed two different diets and reared in six 1200 liter rearing tanks at a density of 50 larvae per liter. One larval diet consisted of enriched Artemia (brine shrimp) alone while the other was a mixed diet of enriched Artemia and two species of microalgae (Thalassiosira weissflogii and Chaetoceros muelleri). Survival to the glaucothoe (last larval) stage was greater than 50% for both diets, averaging 59% ± 6% standard error in tanks fed enriched Artemia alone, compared to 52% ± 2% survival in the tanks fed the mixed diet. Larval rearing temperature averaged 9°C, and rearing period to the glaucothoe stage was 27 days.

Overall, 199,920 glaucothoe were produced. The glaucothoe and juveniles are currently being reared at the hatchery, and the juveniles will be shipped to Kodiak this summer for release experiments.”

We love king crab and are invested in the future of this delicious resource through our support of AKCRRAB’s research via our RSVP Program.

(Image of Kodiak red king crab larvae produced at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in spring 2014 courtesy of Ginny Eckert)

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