Seafood of the Week – Lobster

October 8, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | 1 Comment
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American lobster, Homarus americanus, with claws banded

American lobster, Homarus americanus, with claws banded

Clawed lobsters comprise a family (Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae) of large marine crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate. Commercially important species include two species of Homarus from the northern Atlantic Ocean, and scampi – the northern-hemisphere genus Nephrops and the southern-hemisphere genus Metanephrops. Although several other groups of crustaceans have the word “lobster” in their names, the unqualified term “lobster” generally refers to the clawed lobsters of the family Nephropidae. Clawed lobsters are not closely related to spiny lobsters or slipper lobsters, which have no claws (chelae), or to squat lobsters. The closest living relatives of clawed lobsters are the reef lobsters and the three families of freshwater crayfish.

 

 

Lobsters are invertebrates with a hard protective exoskeleton. Like most arthropods, lobsters must moult in order to grow, which leaves them vulnerable. During the moulting process, several species change colour. Lobsters have 10 walking legs; the front three pairs bear claws, the first of which are larger than the others. Although, like most other arthropods, lobsters are largely bilaterally symmetrical, some genera possess unequal, specialised claws.
Lobster anatomy includes the cephalothorax which fuses the head and the thorax, both of which are covered by a chitinous carapace, and the abdomen. The lobster’s head bears antennae, antennules, mandibles, the first and second maxillae, and the first, second, and third maxillipeds. Because lobsters live in a murky environment at the bottom of the ocean, they mostly use their antennae as sensors. The lobster eye has a reflective structure above a convex retina. In contrast, most complex eyes use refractive ray concentrators (lenses) and a concave retina. The abdomen includes swimmerets and its tail is composed of uropods and the telson.
Lobsters, like snails and spiders, have blue blood due to the presence of haemocyanin which contains copper (in contrast, vertebrates and many other animals have red blood from iron-rich haemoglobin). Lobsters possess a green hepatopancreas, called the tomalley by chefs, which functions as the animal’s liver and pancreas.
Lobsters of the family Nephropidae are similar in overall form to a number of other related groups. They differ from freshwater crayfish in lacking the joint between the last two segments of the thorax, and they differ from the reef lobsters of the family Enoplometopidae in having full claws on the first three pairs of legs, rather than just one. The distinctions from fossil families such as Chilenophoberidae are based on the pattern of grooves on the carapace.

 

 

Large lobsters are estimated to have aged up to 60 years old, although determining age is difficult.
Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs DNA sequences of the form “TTAGGG”. Lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity. This sequence, repeated hundreds of times, occurs at the ends of chromosomes and are referred to as telomeres.
Lobsters, like many other decapod crustaceans, grow throughout life, and are able to add new muscle cells at each molt. Lobster longevity allows them to reach impressive sizes. According to Guinness World Records, the largest lobster ever caught was in Nova Scotia, Canada, weighing 20.15 kilograms (44.4 lb).

 

 

Lobsters are found in all oceans. They live on rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms from the shoreline to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. They generally live singly in crevices or in burrows under rocks.
Lobsters are omnivores and typically eat live prey such as fish, mollusks, other crustaceans, worms, and some plant life. They scavenge if necessary, and are known to resort to cannibalism in captivity. However, when lobster skin is found in lobster stomachs, this is not necessarily evidence of cannibalism – lobsters eat their shed skin after moulting. While cannibalism was thought to be nonexistent among wild lobster populations, it was observed in 2012 by researchers studying wild lobsters in Maine, where it is theorized that these first known instances of lobster cannibalism in the wild can be attributed to a local population explosion among lobsters caused by the disappearance of many of the Maine lobsters’ natural predators.
In general, lobsters are 25–50 centimetres (10–20 in) long, and move by slowly walking on the sea floor. However, when they flee, they swim backward quickly by curling and uncurling their abdomen. A speed of 5 metres per second (11 mph) has been recorded. This is known as the caridoid escape reaction.
Symbiotic animals of the genus Symbion, the only member of the phylum Cycliophora, live exclusively on lobster gills and mouthparts. Different species of Symbion have been found on the three commercially important lobsters of the north Atlantic OceanNephrops norvegicus, Homarus gammarus and Homarus americanus.

 

 

Lobster recipes include Lobster Newberg and Lobster Thermidor. Lobster is used in soup, bisque, lobster rolls, and cappon magro. Lobster meat may be dipped in clarified butter, resulting in a sweetened flavour.
Cooks boil or steam live lobsters. The lobster cooks for seven minutes for the first pound and three minutes for each additional pound.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the mean level of mercury in American lobster is 0.31 ppm.

 

 

The most common way of killing a lobster is by placing it live in boiling water (with or without spending a period of time in a freezer) or by splitting it by severing the body in half lengthwise. Lobsters may also be killed or rendered insensate immediately before boiling by a stab into the brain, in the belief that this will stop suffering. However, a lobster’s brain operates from not one but several ganglia and disabling only the frontal ganglion does not usually result in death or unconsciousness. The boiling method is illegal in some places, such as in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where offenders face fines of up to €495.

 

 

Steamed whole lobster, with claws cracked and tail split

Steamed whole lobster, with claws cracked and tail split

In North America, the American lobster did not achieve popularity until the mid-19th century, when New Yorkers and Bostonians developed a taste for it, and commercial lobster fisheries only flourished after the development of the lobster smack, a custom-made boat with open holding wells on the deck to keep the lobsters alive during transport. Prior to this time, lobster was considered a mark of poverty or as a food for indentured servants or lower members of society in Maine, Massachusetts, and the Canadian Maritimes, and servants specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice per week. Lobster was also commonly served in prisons, much to the displeasure of inmates. American lobster was initially deemed worthy only of being used as fertilizer or fish bait, and it was not until well into the twentieth century that it was viewed as more than a low-priced canned staple food.
Caught lobsters are graded as new-shell, hard-shell or old-shell, and because lobsters which have recently shed their shells are the most delicate, there is an inverse relationship between the price of American lobster and its flavour. New-shell lobsters have paper-thin shells and a worse meat-to-shell ratio, but the meat is very sweet. However, the lobsters are so delicate that even transport to Boston almost kills them, making the market for new-shell lobsters strictly local to the fishing towns where they are offloaded. Hard-shell lobsters with firm shells, but with less sweet meat, can survive shipping to Boston, New York and even Los Angeles, so they command a higher price than new-shell lobsters. Meanwhile, old-shell lobsters, which have not shed since the previous season and have a coarser flavour, can be air-shipped anywhere in the world and arrive alive, making them the most-expensive. One seafood guide notes that an eight-dollar lobster dinner at a restaurant overlooking fishing piers in Maine is consistently delicious, while “the eighty-dollar lobster in a three-star Paris restaurant is apt to be as much about presentation as flavor”.

 

 

Lobsters are caught using baited, one-way traps with a colour-coded marker buoy to mark cages. Lobster is fished in water between 1 and 500 fathoms (2 and 900 m), although some lobsters live at 2,000 fathoms (3,700 m). Cages are of plastic-coated galvanised steel or wood. A lobster fisher may tend as many as 2,000 traps. Around the year 2000, due to overfishing and high demand, lobster aquaculture expanded. As of 2008, no lobster aquaculture operation had achieved commercial success, due mainly to the fact that lobsters eat each other (cannibalism) and the slow growth of the species; these two problems make it difficult to make lobster aquaculture profitable.

 

 

 

Fish of the Week – Wahoo

September 10, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Posted in fish, Fish of the Week | Leave a comment
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Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish. In Hawaii, the wahoo is known as ono. Many Hispanic areas of the Caribbean

Wahoo catch

Wahoo catch

and Central America refer to this fish as peto.

 

 

The body is elongated and covered with small, scarcely visible scales; the back is an iridescent blue, while the sides are silvery, with a pattern of irregular vertical blue bars and have razor sharp teeth. These colors fade rapidly at death. The mouth is large, and both the upper and lower jaws have a somewhat sharper appearance than those of king or Spanish mackerel. Specimens have been recorded at up to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) in length, and weighing up to 83 kilograms (180 lb). Growth can be rapid. One specimen tagged at 5 kilograms (11 lb) grew to 15 kg (33 lb) in one year. Wahoo can swim up to 60 mph (97 km/h). They are some of the fastest fish in the sea.
The wahoo may be distinguished from the related Atlantic king mackerel and from the Indo-Pacific Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel by a fold of skin which covers the mandible when its mouth is closed. In contrast, the mandible of the king mackerel is always visible as is also the case for the smaller Spanish mackerel and Cero mackerel. The teeth of the wahoo are similar to those of king mackerel, but shorter and more closely set together.
The barracuda is sometimes confused with mackerel and wahoo, but is easy to distinguish from the latter two species. Barracuda have prominent scales, larger, dagger-like teeth, and lack the caudal keels and blade-like tail characteristic of the scombrid (mackerel).

 

 

Wahoo

Wahoo

Wahoo tend to be solitary or occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish, but where conditions are suitable can be found in schools as large as 100 or more. Their diet is made up of other fish and squid.
Most wahoo taken have a trematode parasite living in their stomach, the giant stomach worm (Hirudinella ventricosa), which does not appear to harm the fish.

 

 

The flesh of the wahoo is white to grey, delicate to dense, and highly regarded by many gourmets. The taste is similar to mackerel, though arguably less pronounced. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish. In many areas of its range, such as Hawaii, Bermuda and many parts of the Caribbean, local demand for wahoo is met by artisanal commercial fishermen, who take them primarily by trawling, as well as by recreational sports fishermen who sell their catch.
Although local wahoo populations can be affected by heavy commercial and sports fishing pressure, wahoo as a species are less susceptible to industrial commercial fishing than more tightly schooling and abundant species such as tuna. Wahoo are regularly taken as a by-catch in various commercial fisheries, including longline fisheries for tuna, billfish and dolphinfish (a.k.a. mahi-mahi or dorado) and in tuna purse seine fisheries, especially in sets made around floating objects, which act as a focal point for a great deal of other marine life besides tuna. In 2003, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council issued a Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan for the Atlantic. However, the species as a whole is not considered overfished. In most parts of its range, the wahoo is a highly prized sport fishing catch. It reaches a good size, is often available not too far from land, and is a very good fighter on light to medium tackle. It is known in sports fishing circles for the speed and strength of its first run. The aggressive habits and razor-sharp teeth of the wahoo can be of considerable annoyance when targeting larger gamefish, however, such as tuna or marlin.

 

 

 

 

Grilled Marinated Wahoo
Ingredients:

1/2 cup Butter, melted (Blue Bonnet Light Stick Butter)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 fresh Garlic Cloves
1/3 cup fresh Cilantro
1 tablespoon Roasted Ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Zatarainn’s Cajun Seafood Seasoning
1 lemon, Juice of
6 Wahoo fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
Lemon wedge (to garnish)

 

Directions:

1 – Spray grill with nonstick spray or brush with vegie oil to prevent sticking. Preheat on high for about 10 minutes
2 – Mix first 7 ingredients in a blender. Purée into a smooth sauce.
3 – When ready to cook, brush both sides of fillets with sauce. Place fillets on grill and cook, turning once or twice. Brush more sauce as needed.
4 – Fish is done when it flakes easily (about 5 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges.

Fish of the Week – Tuna

August 27, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Posted in fish, Fish of the Week | 5 Comments
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A tuna is a saltwater finfish that belongs to the tribe Thunnini, a sub-grouping of the mackerel family (Scombridae) – which together with

Tunas (from top): albacore, Atlantic bluefin, skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye

Tunas (from top): albacore, Atlantic bluefin, skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye

the tunas, also includes the bonitos, mackerels, and Spanish mackerels. Thunnini comprises fifteen species across five genera, the sizes of which vary greatly, ranging from the bullet tuna (max. length: 50 cm (1.6 ft), weight: 1.8 kg (4 lb)) up to the Atlantic bluefin tuna (max. length: 4.6 m (15 ft), weight: 684 kg (1,508 lb)). The bluefin averages 2 m (6.6 ft), and is believed to live for up to 50 years.

Their circulatory and respiratory systems are unique among fish, enabling them to maintain a body temperature higher than the surrounding water. An active and agile predator, the tuna has a sleek, streamlined body, and is among the fastest-swimming pelagic fish – the yellowfin tuna, for example, is capable of speeds of up to 75 km/h (47 mph). Found in warm seas, it is extensively fished commercially and is popular as a game fish. As a result of over-fishing, stocks of some tuna species, such as the Southern bluefin tuna, have been reduced dangerously close to the point of extinction.

 

 

The tuna is a sleek and streamlined fish, adapted for speed. It has two closely spaced dorsal fins on its back; The first being “depressible” – it can be laid down, flush, in a groove that runs along its back. Seven to 10 yellow finlets run from the dorsal fins to the tail, which is lunate – curved like a crescent moon – and tapered to pointy tips. The caudal peduncle, to which the tail is attached, is quite thin, with three stabilizing horizontal keels on each side. The tuna’s dorsal side is generally a metallic dark blue, while the ventral side, or underside, is silvery or whitish, for camouflage.

 

 

Thunnus are widely but sparsely distributed throughout the oceans of the world, generally in tropical and temperate waters between about 45 degrees north and south of the equator. All tunas are able to maintain the temperature of certain parts of their body above the temperature of ambient seawater. For example, bluefin can maintain a core body temperature of 25–33 °C (77–91 °F), in water as cold as 6 °C (43 °F). However, unlike typical endothermic creatures such as mammals and birds, tuna do not maintain temperature within a relatively narrow range.
Tuna achieve endothermy by conserving the heat generated through normal metabolism. The rete mirabile (“wonderful net”), the intertwining of veins and arteries in the body’s periphery, allows much of the heat from venous blood to be “re-claimed” and transferred to the arterial blood via a counter-current exchange system, thus mitigating the effects of surface cooling. This allows the tuna to elevate the temperatures of the highly-aerobic tissues of the skeletal muscles, eyes and brain, which supports faster swimming speeds and reduced energy expenditure, and which enables them to survive in cooler waters over a wider range of ocean environments than those of other fish. In all tunas, however, the heart operates at ambient temperature, as it receives cooled blood, and coronary circulation is directly from the gills.
Also unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red myotomal muscles derive their color from myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule, which tuna express in quantities far higher than most other fish. The oxygen-rich blood further ables energy delivery to their muscles.
For powerful swimming animals like dolphins and tuna, cavitation may be detrimental, because it limits their maximum swimming speed. Even if they have the power to swim faster, dolphins may have to restrict their speed because collapsing cavitation bubbles on their tail are too painful. Cavitation also slows tuna, but for a different reason. Unlike dolphins, these fish do not feel the bubbles, because they have bony fins without nerve endings. Nevertheless, they cannot swim faster because the cavitation bubbles create a vapor film around their fins that limits their speed. Lesions have been found on tuna that are consistent with cavitation damage.

 

 

Tuna is an important commercial fish. The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) compiled a detailed scientific report on the state of global tuna stocks in 2009, which includes regular updates. According to the ISSF, the most important species for commercial and recreational tuna fisheries are yellowfin (Thunnus albacares), bigeye (T. obesus), bluefin (T. thynnus, T. orientalis, and T. macoyii), albacore (T. alalunga), and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis).
The report further states:
Between 1940 and the mid-1960s, the annual world catch of the five principal market species of tunas rose from about 300 thousand tons to about 1 million tons, most of it taken by hook and line. With the development of purse-seine nets, now the predominant gear, catches have risen to more than 4 million tons annually during the last few years. Of these catches, about 68 percent are from the Pacific Ocean, 22 percent from the Indian Ocean, and the remaining 10 percent from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Skipjack makes up about 60 percent of the catch, followed by yellowfin (24 percent), bigeye (10 percent), albacore (5 percent), and bluefin the remainder. Purse-seines take about 62 percent of the world production, longline about 14 percent, pole and line about 11 percent, and a variety of other gears the remainder 3.
The Australian government alleged in 2006 that Japan had illegally overfished southern bluefin by taking 12,000 to 20,000 tonnes per year instead of the their agreed 6,000 tonnes; the value of such overfishing would be as much as USD $2 billion. Such overfishing has severely damaged bluefin stocks. According to the WWF, “Japan’s huge appetite for tuna will take the most sought-after stocks to the brink of commercial extinction unless fisheries agree on more rigid quotas”. Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency counters that Australian and New Zealand tuna fishing companies under-report their total catches of southern bluefin tuna and ignore internationally mandated total allowable catch totals.
In recent years, opening day fish auctions at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market have seen record-setting prices for bluefin tuna, reflecting market demand. In each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, new record prices have been set for a single fish – the current record is 155.4 million japanese yen (US $1.76 million) for a 221 kg (490 lb) bluefin, or a unit price of JP¥ 703,167/kg (US$ 3,603/lb). In November 2011, a different record was set when a fisherman in Massachusetts caught an 881-pound tuna. It was captured inadvertently using a dragnet. Due to the laws and restrictions on tuna fishing in the United States, federal authorities impounded the fish because it was not caught with a rod and reel. Because of the tuna’s deteriorated condition as a result of the trawl net, the fish sold for just under $5,000.

 

 

Increasing quantities of high-grade tuna are reared in net pens and fed bait fish. In Australia, former fishermen raise southern bluefin tuna,

Tuna cut in half for processing at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Tuna cut in half for processing at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Thunnus maccoyii, and another bluefin species. Farming its close relative, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is beginning in the Mediterranean, North America and Japan. Hawaiʻi approved permits for the first U.S. offshore farming of bigeye tuna in water 1,300 feet (400 m) deep in 2009.
Japan is the biggest tuna consuming nation and is also the leader in tuna farming research. Japan first successfully farm-hatched and raised bluefin tuna in 1979. In 2002, it succeeded in completing the reproduction cycle and in 2007, completed a third generation. The farm breed is known as Kindai tuna. Kindai is the contraction of Kinki University in Japanese (Kinki daigaku). In 2009, Clean Seas, an Australian company which has been receiving assistance from Kinki University managed to breed Southern Bluefin Tuna in captivity and was awarded the second place in World’s Best Invention of 2009 by Time magazine.

 

 

Canned tuna was first produced in 1903, quickly becoming popular. Tuna is canned in edible oils, in brine, in water, and in various sauces. In the United States, 52% of canned tuna is used for sandwiches; 22% for salads; and 15% for casseroles and dried, packaged meal mixes.
In the United States, only Albacore can legally be sold in canned form as “white meat tuna”; in other countries, yellowfin is also acceptable. While in the early 1980s canned tuna in Australia was most likely Southern bluefin, as of 2003 it was usually yellowfin, skipjack, or tongol (labelled “northern bluefin”).
As tunas are often caught far from where they are processed, poor interim conservation can lead to spoilage. Tuna is typically gutted by hand, and later pre-cooked for prescribed times of 45 minutes to three hours. The fish are then cleaned and filleted, canned, and sealed, with the dark lateral blood meat often separately canned for pet food. The sealed can itself is then heated under pressure (called retort cooking) for 2 to 4 hours. This process kills any bacteria, but retains the histamine that can produce rancid flavors. The international standard sets the maximum histamine level at 200 milligrams per kilogram. An Australian study of 53 varieties of unflavored canned tuna found none to exceed the safe histamine level, although some had “off” flavors.
Australian standards once required cans of tuna to contain at least 51% tuna, but these regulations were dropped in 2003. The remaining weight is usually oil or water. In the US, the FDA regulates canned tuna.

 

 

Tuna can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It can contain 300 milligrams (0.011 oz) per serving. However, the level of omega-3 oils found in canned tuna is highly variable, since some common manufacturing methods destroy much of the omega-3 oils in the fish. Tuna is also a good source of protein.

 

 

Mercury content in tuna can vary widely. For instance, testing by Rutgers University reportedly found that a can of StarKist had 10 times more mercury than another can of similarly identified tuna. This has prompted a Rutgers University scientist whose staff conducted the mercury analysis to say, “That’s one of the reasons pregnant women have to be really careful … If you happen to get a couple or three cans in the high range at a critical period when you are pregnant, it would not be good.” Among those calling for improved warnings about mercury in tuna is the American Medical Association, which adopted a policy that physicians should help make their patients more aware of the potential risks.
A study published in 2008 found that mercury distribution in the meat of farmed tuna is inversely related to the lipid content, suggesting that higher lipid concentration within edible tissues of tuna raised in captivity might, other factors remaining equal, have a diluting effect on mercury content. These findings suggest that choosing to consume a type of tuna that has a relatively higher natural fat content might help reduce the amount of mercury intake, compared to consuming tuna with a low fat content.
The industry-sponsored group Center for Consumer Freedom, which does not release the names of its contributors, claims the health risks of methylmercury in tuna might be dampened by the selenium found in tuna, although the mechanism and effect of this is still largely unknown.
Due to their high position in the food chain and the subsequent accumulation of heavy metals from their diet, mercury levels can be high in larger species such as bluefin and albacore.

 

 

There are five main tuna fishery management bodies: the Western Central Pacific Ocean Fisheries Commission, the Inter-American Tropical

Tuna steak served in a French bistro

Tuna steak served in a French bistro

Tuna Commission, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The five gathered for the first time in Kobe, Japan in January 2007. Environmental organizations made submissions on risks to fisheries and species. The meeting concluded with an action plan drafted by some 60 countries or areas. Concrete steps include issuing certificates of origin to prevent illegal fishing and greater transparency in the setting of regional fishing quotas. The delegates are scheduled to meet at another joint meeting in January or February 2009 in Europe.
In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the albacore, bigeye tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna, Atlantic bluefin tuna, southern bluefin tuna and the yellowfin tuna to its seafood red list. “The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.”
It is widely accepted that bluefin tuna have been severely overfished, with some stocks at risk of collapse. According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (a global, non-profit partnership between the tuna industry, scientists, and the World Wide Fund for Nature), Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna, Pacific Ocean (eastern & western) bigeye tuna, and North Atlantic albacore tuna are all overfished. In April 2009, no stock of skipjack tuna (which makes up roughly 60 percent of all tuna fished worldwide) was considered to be overfished. However, the BBC documentary, South Pacific, which first aired in May 2009 stated that, should fishing in the Pacific continue at its current rate, populations of all tuna species could collapse within 5 years. It highlighted huge Japanese and European tuna fishing vessels, sent to the South Pacific international waters after overfishing their own fish stocks to the point of collapse.
A 2010 tuna fishery assessment report, released in January 2012 by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), supported this finding, recommending that all tuna fishing should be reduced or limited to current levels and that limits on skipjack fishing be considered.

 

 

Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 830 kJ (200 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 8 g
Protein 29 g
Water 60 g
Vitamin A equiv. 23 μg (3%)
Choline 29 mg (6%)
Vitamin D 269 IU (45%)
Calcium 13 mg (1%)
Iron 1.4 mg (11%)
Magnesium 31 mg (9%)
Phosphorus 311 mg (44%)
Potassium 207 mg (4%)
Zinc 0.9 mg (9%)
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

 

Fish of the Week – Swordfish

August 6, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Posted in fish, Fish of the Week | 2 Comments
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Swordfish (Xiphias gladius; from Greek ξίφος: sword, and Latin gladius: sword), also known as broadbill in some countries, are large,

Swordfish

Swordfish

highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. These fish are found widely in tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and can typically be found from near the surface to a depth of 550 m (1,800 ft). They commonly reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, and the maximum reported is 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in length and 650 kg (1,400 lb) in weight.

They are the sole member of their family Xiphiidae.

 

 

The swordfish is named after its bill resembling a sword (Latin gladius). This makes it superficially similar to other billfish such as marlin, but upon examination their physiology is quite different and they are members of different families.
They commonly reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, and the maximum reported is 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in length and 650 kg (1,400 lb) in weight. The International Game Fish Association‘s all-tackle angling record for a swordfish was a 1,182 lb (536 kg) specimen taken off Chile in 1953. Females are larger than males, and Pacific swordfish reach a greater size than northwest Atlantic and Mediterranean swordfish. They reach maturity at 4–5 years of age and the maximum age is believed to be at least 9 years.
Swordfish are ectothermic animals; however, swordfish, along with some species of shark, have special organs next to their eyes to heat their eyes and brain. Temperatures of 10 to 15 °C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured. The heating of the eyes greatly improves their vision, and consequently improves their ability to catch prey. Out of the 25,000+ fish species, only 22 are known to have a mechanism to conserve heat. These include the swordfish, marlin, tuna and some sharks.

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, the “sword” is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its prey in order to injure the prey animal, to make for an easier catch. Mainly the swordfish relies on its great speed and agility in the water to catch its prey. It is undoubtedly among the fastest fish, but the basis for the frequently quoted speed of 60 mph (97 km/h) is unreliable.
Swordfish prefer water temperatures between 18 °C (64 °F) and 22 °C (72 °F), but have the widest tolerance among billfish and can be found from 5 °C (41 °F) to 27 °C (81 °F). This highly migratory species typically moves towards colder regions to feed during the summer. Swordfish feed daily, most often at night when they rise to surface and near-surface waters in search of smaller fish. During the day they commonly occur to depths of 550 m (1,800 ft) and have exceptionally been recorded as deep as 2,878 m (9,442 ft). Adults feed on a wide range of pelagic fish such as mackerel, barracudinas, silver hake, rockfish, herring and lanternfishes, but they also take demersal fish, squid and crustaceans. In the northwestern Atlantic, a survey based on the stomach content of 168 individuals found that 82% had eaten squid and 53% had eaten fish, including gadids, scombrids, butterfish, bluefish and sand lance. Large prey-items are typically slashed with the sword, while small are swallowed whole.

 

Swordfish are not schooling fish. They swim alone or in very loose aggregations, separated by as much as 10 m (33 ft) from a neighboring swordfish. They are frequently found basking at the surface, airing their first dorsal fin. Boaters report this to be a beautiful sight, as is the powerful jumping for which the species is known. This jumping, also called breaching, is thought by some researchers to be an effort to dislodge pests, such as remora or lampreys. Almost 50 species of parasites have been documented in swordfish. In addition to remoras, lampreys and cookiecutter shark, this includes a wide range of invertebrates such as tapeworms, roundworms and copepods.
Except for humans, fully adult swordfish have few enemies. Among marine mammals, killer whales sometimes prey on adult swordfish. The shortfin mako, an exceptionally fast species of shark, sometimes take on swordfish; dead or dying shortfin makos have been found with broken off swords in their head, revealing the potential danger of this type of prey. Juvenile swordfish are far more vulnerable to predation and are eaten by a wide range of predatory fish.

 

 

Swordfish have been fished widely since ancient times, among others in the sea between Sicily and Calabria, such as off the Tyrrhenian coast in the Reggio province. It is a typical dish in the cuisine of this region.
Swordfish were harvested by a variety of methods at small scale (notably harpoon fishing) until the global expansion of long-line fishing.
Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. When hooked or harpooned, they have been known to dive so quickly that they have impaled their swords into the ocean bottom up to their eyes. Although there are no reports of unprovoked attacks on humans, swordfish can be very dangerous when harpooned. They have run their swords through the planking of small boats when hurt.

Recreational fishing has developed a sub-specialty called swordfishing. Because there is a ban on long-lining along many parts of seashore, swordfish populations are showing signs of recovery from the overfishing caused by long-lining along the coast.
There are various ways to fish for swordfish, but the most common method is deep-drop fishing since swordfish spend most daylight hours very deep. The boat is allowed to drift to present a more natural bait. Swordfishing requires strong fishing rods and reels as swordfish can become quite large, and it is not uncommon to use 5 pounds or more of weight to get the baits deep enough during the day, up to 2000 feet is common. Night time fishing baits are usually fished much shallower, often less than 300 feet. Standard baits are whole mackerel, herring, mullet, bonito or squid; one can also use live bait. Imitation squids and other imitation fish lures can also be used, and specialized lures made specifically for sword fishing often have battery powered or glow lights. Even baits are typically presented using glow sticks or specialized deep water proof battery operated lights.

Marinated swordfish

Marinated swordfish

Swordfish are classified as oily fish. Many sources including the United States Food and Drug Administration warn about potential toxicity from high levels of methylmercury in swordfish. The FDA recommends that young children, pregnant women, and women of child-bearing age not eat swordfish.
The flesh of some swordfish can acquire an orange tint, reportedly from their diet of shrimp or other prey. Such fish are sold as “pumpkin swordfish,” and command a premium over their whitish counterparts. (Information from U.S. vendor Whole Foods.)
Swordfish is a particularly popular fish for cooking. Since swordfish are large animals, meat is usually sold as steaks, which are often grilled. Swordfish meat is relatively firm, and can be cooked in ways more fragile types of fish cannot (such as over a grill on skewers). The color of the flesh varies by diet, with fish caught on the east coast of North America often being rosier.

Swordfish are not listed as an endangered species by the IUCN.
In 1998, the United States Natural Resources Defense Council and SeaWeb hired Fenton Communications to conduct an advertising

Swordfish on deck during long-lining operations

Swordfish on deck during long-lining operations

campaign to promote their assertion that the swordfish population was in danger due to its popularity as a restaurant entree.
The resulting “Give Swordfish a Break” promotion was wildly successful, with 750 prominent U.S. chefs agreeing to remove North Atlantic swordfish from their menus, and also persuaded many supermarkets and consumers across the country.
The advertising campaign was repeated by the national media in hundreds of print and broadcast stories, as well as extensive regional coverage. It earned the Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America as well as Time magazine’s award for the top five environmental stories of 1998.
Subsequently, the US National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a swordfish protection plan that incorporated the campaign’s policy suggestions. Then-US President Bill Clinton called for a ban on the sale and import of swordfish and in a landmark decision by the federal government, 132,670 sq mi (343,600 km2) of the Atlantic ocean were placed off-limits to fishing as recommended by the sponsors.
In the North Atlantic, the swordfish stock is fully rebuilt, with biomass estimates currently 5% above the target level. There are no robust stock assessments for swordfish in the northwestern Pacific or South Atlantic, and there is a paucity of data concerning stock status in these regions. These stocks are considered unknown and a moderate conservation concern. The southwestern Pacific stock is a moderate concern due to model uncertainty, increasing catches, and declining CPUEs (catch per unit effort). Overfishing is likely occurring in the Indian Ocean, and fishing mortality exceeds the maximum recommended level in the Mediterranean, thus these stocks are considered of high conservation concern.
In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the swordfish to its seafood red list. “The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.”

Fish of the Week – Salmon

July 23, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Posted in Fish of the Week, salmon | 2 Comments
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Salmon /ˈsæmən/ is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are

 Pacific salmon leaping at Willamette Falls, Oregon


Pacific salmon leaping at Willamette Falls, Oregon

called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident,[citation needed] but this distinction does not strictly hold true. Salmon live along the coasts of both the North Atlantic (the migratory species Salmo salar) and Pacific Oceans (half a dozen species of the genus Oncorhynchus), and have also been introduced into the Great Lakes of North America. Salmon are intensively produced in aquaculture in many parts of the world.
Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. However, populations of several species are restricted to fresh water through their lives. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn; tracking studies have shown this to be true, and this homing behavior has been shown to depend on olfactory memory.

 

 

The term “salmon” derives from the Latin salmo, which in turn may have originated from salire, meaning “to leap”. The nine commercially important species of salmon occur in two genera. The genus Salmo contains the Atlantic salmon, found in the north Atlantic. The genus Oncorhynchus contains eight species which occur naturally only in the north Pacific. Chinook salmon have been introduced in New Zealand. As a group, these are known as Pacific salmon.

 

 

Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar

Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar

 

* Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) reproduces in northern rivers on both coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.

* Landlocked salmon (Salmo salar m. sebago) live in a number of lakes in eastern North America and in Northern Europe, for instance in lakes Onega, Ladoga, Saimaa, Vänern and Winnipesaukee. They are not a different species from the Atlantic salmon, but have independently evolved a non-migratory life cycle, which they maintain even when they could access the ocean.

* Masu salmon or cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) is found only in the western Pacific Ocean in Japan, Korea and Russia. A land-locked subspecies known as the Taiwanese salmon or Formosan salmon (Oncorhynchus masou formosanus) is found in central Taiwan’s Chi Chia Wan Stream.
* Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is also known in the US as king salmon or blackmouth salmon, and as spring salmon in British Columbia. Chinook are the largest of all Pacific salmon, frequently exceeding 30 lb (14 kg). The name Tyee is used in British Columbia to refer to Chinook over 30 pounds, and in Columbia River watershed, especially large Chinook were once referred to as June hogs. Chinook salmon are known to range as far north as the Mackenzie River and Kugluktuk in the central Canadian arctic, and as far south as the Central California Coast.
* Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) is known as dog, keta, or calico salmon in some parts of the US. This species has the widest geographic range of the Pacific species: south to the Sacramento River in California in the eastern Pacific and the island of Kyūshū in the Sea of Japan in the western Pacific; north to the Mackenzie River in Canada in the east and to the Lena River in Siberia in the west.
* Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) is also known in the US as silver salmon. This species is found throughout the coastal waters of Alaska and British Columbia and as far south as Central California (Monterey Bay). It is also now known to occur, albeit infrequently, in the Mackenzie River.
* Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), known as humpies in southeast and southwest Alaska, are found from northern California and Korea, throughout the northern Pacific, and from the Mackenzie River in Canada to the Lena River in Siberia, usually in shorter coastal streams. It is the smallest of the Pacific species, with an average weight of 3.5 to 4.0 lb (1.6 to 1.8 kg).
* Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is also known in the US as red salmon. This lake-rearing species is found south as far as the Klamath River in California in the eastern Pacific and northern Hokkaidō island in Japan in the western Pacific and as far north as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic in the east and the Anadyr River in Siberia in the west. Although most adult Pacific salmon feed on small fish, shrimp and squid; sockeye feed on plankton they filter through gill rakers. Kokanee salmon is a land-locked form of sockeye salmon.
* The Danube salmon or huchen (Hucho hucho), is the largest permanent fresh water salmonid species. 

 

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

Salmon is a popular food. Classified as an oily fish, salmon is considered to be healthful due to the fish’s high protein, high omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D content. Salmon is also a source of cholesterol, with a range of 23–214 mg/100 g depending on the species. According to reports in the journal Science, however, farmed salmon may contain high levels of dioxins. PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels may be up to eight times higher in farmed salmon than in wild salmon, but still well below levels considered dangerous. Nonetheless, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the benefits of eating even farmed salmon still outweigh any risks imposed by contaminants. The type of omega-3 present may not be a factor for other important health functions.
Salmon flesh is generally orange to red, although white-fleshed wild salmon occurs. The natural colour of salmon results from carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin, but also canthaxanthin, in the flesh. Wild salmon get these carotenoids from eating krill and other tiny shellfish.
The vast majority of Atlantic salmon available on the world market are farmed (almost 99%),[89] whereas the majority of Pacific salmon are wild-caught (greater than 80%). Canned salmon in the US is usually wild Pacific catch, though some farmed salmon is available in canned form. Smoked salmon is another popular preparation method, and can either be hot or cold smoked. Lox can refer either to cold-smoked salmon or to salmon cured in a brine solution (also called gravlax). Traditional canned salmon includes some skin (which is harmless) and bone (which adds calcium). Skinless and boneless canned salmon is also available.
Raw salmon flesh may contain Anisakis nematodes, marine parasites that cause anisakiasis. Before the availability of refrigeration, the Japanese did not consume raw salmon. Salmon and salmon roe have only recently come into use in making sashimi (raw fish) and sushi.

 

Fish of the Week – Orange Roughy

June 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Posted in fish | 3 Comments
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The orange roughy, red roughy, slimehead or deep sea perch, Hoplostethus atlanticus, is a relatively large deep-sea fish belonging to Orange Roughythe slimehead family (Trachichthyidae). The Marine Conservation Society has categorized orange roughy as vulnerable to exploitation. It is found in 3 to 9 °C (37 to 48 °F) deep (bathypelagic, 180 to 1,800 metres (590 to 5,900 ft) waters of the Western Pacific Ocean, eastern Atlantic Ocean (from Iceland to Morocco; and from Walvis Bay, Namibia, to off Durban, South Africa), Indo-Pacific (off New Zealand and Australia), and in the Eastern Pacific off Chile. The orange roughy is notable for its extraordinary lifespan, with lifespans up to 149 years determined by scientific methods. It is important to commercial deep trawl fisheries. The fish is actually a bright, brick red color; however, the orange roughy fades to a yellowish orange after death.
Like other slimeheads, the orange roughy is slow-growing and late to mature, resulting in a very low resilience. They are extremely susceptible to overfishing because of this, and many stocks (especially those off New Zealand and Australia, which were first exploited in the late 1970s) have already crashed; recently discovered substitute stocks are rapidly dwindling. The flesh is firm with a mild flavour; it is sold skinned and filleted, fresh or frozen.

 
The orange roughy is not a vertically slender fish. They turn orange after death, but are red while living.
The rounded head is riddled with muciferous canals (part of the lateral line system), as is typical of slimeheads. The single dorsal fin contains four to six spines and 15 to 19 soft rays; the anal fin contains three spines and 10 to 12 soft rays. The 19 to 25 ventral scutes (modified scales) form a hard, bony median ridge between the pelvic fins and anus. The pectoral fins contain 15-18 soft rays each; the pelvic fins are thoracic and contain one spine and six soft rays; the caudal fin is forked. The interior of the mouth and gill cavity is a bluish black; the mouth itself is large and strongly oblique. The scales are ctenoid and adherent. The lateral line is uninterrupted, with 28 to 32 scales whose spinules or ctenii largely obscure the lateral line’s pores. The eyes are large.
The orange roughy is the largest known slimehead species at a maximum standard length (a measurement which excludes the tail fin) of 75 centimeters (30 in) and a maximum weight of 7 kilograms (15 lb). The average commercial catch size is commonly between 35 and 45 cm in length. The name orange roughy was renamed from the less gastronomically appealing slimehead through a US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) program during the late 1970s, which identified (then) underutilized species that should be renamed to make them more marketable.
Due to its longevity, the Orange Roughy accumulates large amounts of mercury in its tissues, having a range of 0.30 – 0.86 ppm compared with an average mercury level of 0.086 ppm for other edible fish. Based on average consumption and the recommendations of a National Marine Fisheries Service study, in 1976, the FDA set the maximum safe mercury level for fish at 1 ppm. Regular consumption of Orange Roughy can have adverse effects on health. Compared to most edible fish, Orange Roughy are a very poor source of Omega-3 fatty acids, averaging less than 3.5gm per kilogram.

 
The maximum published age of 149 years was determined via radiometric dating of trace isotopes found in an orange roughy’s otolith (“ear bone”). Similarly, counting by the growth rings of orange roughy otoliths has given a maximum age of 125 to 156 years.[10] The validity of these results is questioned by commercial fishers as some state the former method is controversial and the latter method is known to underestimate age in older specimens. The issue has yet to be resolved definitively but carries important implications relating to the orange roughy’s conservation status.

 
In recent years, human consumption of orange roughy has risen drastically due to increased supply through new deep-sea trawling

Orange Roughy Fillet

Orange Roughy Fillet

techniques. Its recovery rate from fishing is slow because its long life cycle and sporadic reproduction make the fish prone to overfishing. Due to habitat damage of commercial trawling, some may not venture out during mating season. Studies have shown a decline in species associated with Orange Roughy, either indirectly through trophic interactions or directly through catching them, such as sea coral.
The United States continues to import up to 8,620 tonnes (19 million lb) per year. Several major food retailers have established seafood sustainability policies dealing with orange roughy. Some, such as Safeway, Inc., allow the sale of the fish, while others explicitly prohibit its sale. A 2003 joint report by the TRAFFIC Oceania and World Wildlife Foundation Endangered Seas Program argues that there is “probably no such thing as an economically viable deep-water fishery that is also sustainable.” and concluded that “Similarly, international agreements to reduce fishing capacity, to remove subsidies which encourage over-fishing, to encourage co-operation in management of fish stocks and flag States to take responsibility for their vessels fishing on the high seas, appear to have gone largely unheeded, to the detriment of deep-sea species and their associated ecosystems.”[8]
In addition to the dangers for the species, bottom trawling has been heavily criticized by environmentalists for its destructive nature. The destructive nature of bottom trawling combined with heavy commercial demand has focused criticism from both environmentalists and media.
The Australian orange roughy fishery was not discovered until the 1970s, but by 2008, the biomass was down to 10% of the unfished level. It was the first commercially sought fish to appear on Australia’s endangered species list because of overfishing.

 
Conservation measures consist of imperfectly enforced catch limits, and listings on various endangered species and do-not-eat lists maintained by governments and environmental activist organizations.
According to sustainable seafood guides, such as Seafood Watch (USA), the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand,[16] the Marine Conservation Society (UK), consumers should strongly avoid the species.
Orange roughy is New Zealand’s highest value fishery, accounting for 17.2% of total finfish export earnings. The generally accepted fishery management practice is to quickly reduce the original biomass (fish down stage) to a target of 30%. Once this target is achieved, quotas are set. For example, assuming a hypothetical unfished biomass of 100,000 tons, 70,000 tons is considered “surplus” and unrestrained fishing is allowed to remove it. Quotas are set to maintain the 30,000 ton target biomass. The catch size that allows this is the maximum sustainable yield and was originally believed to be 1,200 tons per year. By 2005, it became obvious this quota was too high.
The New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries has reduced catch quotas each year because the species’ maturation and reproduction rates have been repeatedly overestimated. Antons Trawling, Ltd. represents 66% of the orange roughy quotas, and appealed the northern fishery’s (ORH1) 2008 quota, which reduced the total allowable catch (TAC) from 1,470 tons to 914 tons. In February 2008, the High Court overturned the new quota, ruling the Minister did not have the legal power to set quotas for ORH1 because the strict interpretation of the Fisheries Act required an accurate population assessment and comparison to how many there should be. Due to the expense and difficulty of conducting assessments, only 20% of the areas had assessments. The majority of the unassessed areas had TACs of 10 tons or less, with a few notable exceptions, such as ORH1. As assessments in these areas to replace existing monitoring systems were neither cost effective nor technically feasible, the court recommended amendments to the Act. However, the new quotas are estimated to sustainably support only 11% of the unfished population size. Also, catch misreporting is a serious and common problem, with one ORH1 permit holder pleading guilty in 2008 to exceeding his quota by 180 tons, which by itself represents 12% of the quota. Area limits and feature limits are also routinely exceeded. The Area A catch limit of 200 tons has been exceeded every year, while the 30 ton limit for the Mercury-Colville features has been exceeded in three of the last four years, including a catch of 64 tons in 2004-05. Since orange roughy is a valuable export, the Ministry of Fisheries has launched projects to study the fish.
In 2010, Greenpeace International added orange roughy (deep sea perch) to its seafood red list, which contains fish that are generally sourced from unsustainable fisheries.

Fish of the Week – Mackerel

June 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Posted in fish, Food | Leave a comment
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Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family

Some species of mackerel migrate in schools for long distances along the coast and other species cross oceans

Some species of mackerel migrate in schools for long distances along the coast and other species cross oceans

Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.
Mackerel typically have vertical stripes on their backs and deeply forked tails. Many species are restricted in their distribution ranges, and live in separate populations or fish stocks based on geography. Some stocks migrate in large schools along the coast to suitable spawning grounds, where they spawn in fairly shallow waters. After spawning they return the way they came, in smaller schools, to suitable feeding grounds often near an area of upwelling. From there they may move offshore into deeper waters and spend the winter in relative inactivity. Other stocks migrate across oceans.
Smaller mackerel are forage fish for larger predators, including larger mackerel. Flocks of seabirds, as well as whales, dolphins, sharks and schools of larger fish such as tuna and marlin follow mackerel schools and attack them in sophisticated and cooperative ways. Mackerel is high in omega-3 oils and is intensively harvested by humans. In 2009, over five millions tonnes were landed by commercial fishermen (see graph on the right). Sport fisherman value the fighting abilities of the king mackerel.

 
Over thirty different species, principally belonging to the family Scombridae, are commonly referred to as mackerel. The term “mackerel” means “marked” or “spotted.” The term mackerel derives from the Old French maquerel, c.1300, meaning a pimp or procurer. The connection is not altogether clear, but mackerel spawn enthusiastically in shoals near the coast, and medieval ideas on animal procreation were creative.

 
About 21 species in the family Scombridae are commonly called mackerel. The type species for the scombroid mackerel is the Atlantic mackerel, Scomber scombrus. Until recently, it was thought that Atlantic chub mackerel and Indo-Pacific chub mackerel were subspecies of the same species. In 1999 Collette established, on molecular and morphological considerations, that these are separate species. Mackerel are smaller with shorter life cycles than their close relatives, the tuna, which are also members of the same family.

 
The true mackerels belong to the tribe Scombrini. The tribe consists of seven species, each belonging to one of two genera: Scomber and Rastrelliger. The Spanish mackerels belong to the tribe Scomberomorini, and is the “sister tribe” of the true mackerels. This tribe consists of 21 species in all – 18 of those are classified into the genus Scomberomorus, two into Grammatorcynus, and a single species into the monotypic genus Acanthocybium. In addition, a number of species with mackerel-like characteristics in the families Carangidae, Hexagrammidae and Gempylidae are commonly referred to as mackerel. There has been some confusion between the Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) and the heavily harvested Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi). These have been thought at times to be the same species, but are now recognised as separate species.

 
The term mackerel is also used as a modifier in the common names of other fish, sometimes indicating the fish has vertical stripes similar to a scombroid mackerel:
* Mackerel icefish – Champsocephalus gunnari
* Mackerel pike – Cololabis saira
* Mackerel scad – Decapterus macarellus
* Mackerel shark – several species
* Sharp-nose mackerel shark – Isurus oxyrinchus
* Mackerel tuna – Euthynnus affinis
* Mackerel tail goldfish – Carassius auratus
By extension, the term is applied also to other species such as the mackerel tabby cat, and to inanimate objects such as the altocumulus mackerel sky cloud formation.

 
Most mackerel species have restricted distribution ranges.
* Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) occupy the waters off the east coast of North America from the Cape Cod area south to the Yucatan Peninsula. Its population is considered to include two fish stocks, defined by geography. As summer approaches, one stock moves in large schools north from Florida up the coast to spawn in shallow waters off the New England coast. It then returns to winter in deeper waters off Florida. The other stock migrates in large schools along the coast from Mexico to spawn in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Texas. It then returns to winter in deeper waters off the Mexican coast. These stocks are managed separately, even though genetically they are identical.
* The Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is a coastal species found only in the north Atlantic. The stock on the west side of the Atlantic is largely independent of the stock on the east side. The stock on the east Atlantic currently operates as three separate stocks, the southern, western and North Sea stocks, each with their own migration patterns. Some mixing of the east Atlantic stocks takes place in feeding grounds towards the north, but there is almost no mixing between the east and west Atlantic stocks.
* Another common coastal species, the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus), is absent from the Atlantic Ocean but is widespread across both hemispheres in the Pacific, where its migration patterns are somewhat similar to those of Atlantic mackerel. In the northern hemisphere, chub mackerel migrate northwards in the summer to feeding grounds, and southwards in the winter when they spawn in relatively shallow waters. In the southern hemisphere the migrations are reversed. After spawning, some stocks migrate down the continental slope to deeper water and spend the rest of the winter in relative inactivity.

Chilean jack mackerel have been overfished and may be in danger of collapsing. Here an entire school of about 400 tons is encircled by a purse seiner.

Chilean jack mackerel have been overfished and may be in danger of collapsing. Here an entire school of about 400 tons is encircled by a purse seiner.

* The Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi), the most intensively harvested mackerel-like species, is found in the south Pacific from West Australia to the coasts of Chile and Peru. A sister species, the Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), is found in the north Pacific. The Chilean jack mackerel occurs along the coasts in upwelling areas, but also migrates across the open ocean. Its abundance can fluctuate markedly as ocean conditions change, and is particularly affected by the El Nino.
Three species of jack mackerels are found in coastal waters around New Zealand; the Australasian, Chilean and Pacific jack mackerels. They are mainly captured using purse seine nets, and are managed as a single stock that includes multiple species.
Some mackerel species migrate vertically. Adult snake mackerels conduct a diel vertical migration, staying in deeper water during the day and rising to the surface at night to feed. The young and juveniles also migrate vertically but in the opposite direction, staying near the surface during the day and moving deeper at night. This species feeds on squid, pelagic crustaceans, lanternfishes, flying fishes, sauries and other mackerel. It is in turn preyed upon by tuna and marlin.

 
Chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus, are the most intensively fished scombroid mackerel. As can be seen from the graph on the right, they account for about half the total capture production of scombroid mackerels. As a species they are easily confused with Atlantic mackerel. Chub mackerel migrate long distances in oceans and across the Mediterranean. They can be caught with drift nets and suitable trawls, but are most usually caught with surround nets at night by attracting them with lampara lamps.
The remaining catch of scombroid mackerels is divided equally between the Atlantic mackerel and all other scombroid mackerels. Just two species account for about 75% of the total catch of scombroid mackerels.
Chilean jack mackerel are the most commonly fished non-scombroid mackerel, fished as heavily as chub mackerel. The species has been overfished, and its fishery may now be in danger of collapsing.
Smaller mackerel behave like herrings, and are captured in similar ways. Fish species like these, which school near the surface, can be caught efficiently by purse seining. Huge purse seiner vessels use spotter planes to locate the schooling fish. Then they close in using sophisticated sonar to track the shape of the shoal. Entire schools are then encircled with fast auxiliary boats which deploy purse seine nets as they speed around the school.
Suitably designed trollers can also catch mackerels effectively when they swim near the surface. Trollers typically have several long booms which they lift and drop with “topping lifts”. They haul their lines with electric or hydraulic reels. Fish aggregating devices are also used to target mackerel.

 
Mackerel is an important food fish that is consumed worldwide. As an oily fish, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The flesh of

Atlantic mackerel on ice at a fishmongers

Atlantic mackerel on ice at a fishmongers

mackerel spoils quickly, especially in the tropics, and can cause scombroid food poisoning. Accordingly, it should be eaten on the day of capture, unless properly refrigerated or cured.
Mackerel preservation is not simple. Before the 19th-century development of canning and the widespread availability of refrigeration, salting and smoking were the principal preservation methods available. Historically in England, this fish was not preserved, but was consumed only in its fresh form. However, spoilage was common, leading the authors of The Cambridge Economic History of Europe to remark: “There are more references to stinking mackerel in English literature than to any other fish!” In 2013,concerns were raised that mackerel may not have been as plentiful a fish as had previously been considered. In France mackerel was traditionally pickled with large amounts of salt, which allowed it to be sold widely across the country.

Fish of the Week – Herring

May 21, 2013 at 8:39 AM | Posted in fish, One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae. They often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the

The Atlantic herring,

The Atlantic herring,

coast. The most abundant and commercially important species belong to the genus Clupea, found particularly in shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea, as well as off the west coast of South America. Three species of Clupea are recognized, and provide about 90% of all herrings captured in fisheries. Most abundant of all is the Atlantic herring, providing over half of all herring capture.
Herring played a pivotal role in the history of marine fisheries in Europe, and early in the twentieth century their study was fundamental to the evolution of fisheries science. These oily fish also have a long history as an important food fish, and are often salted, smoked, or pickled.

 
A number of different species, most belonging to the family Clupeidae, are commonly referred to as herrings. The origins of the term herring is somewhat unclear, though it may derive from the Old High German heri meaning a “host, multitude”, in reference to the large schools they form.
The type genus of the herring family Clupeidae is Clupea. Clupea contains three species: the Atlantic herring (the type species) found in the north Atlantic, the Pacific herring found in the north Pacific, and the Araucanian herring found off the coast of Chile. Subspecific divisions have been suggested for both the Atlantic and Pacific herrings, but their biological basis remain unclear.

 
In addition, a number of related species, all in the family Clupeidae, are commonly referred to as herrings. The table immediately below includes those members of the Clupeidae family referred to by FishBase as herrings which have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In addition, a number of related species, all in the family Clupeidae, are commonly referred to as herrings. The table immediately below includes those members of the Clupeidae family referred to by FishBase as herrings which have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

There are also a number of other species called herrings, which may be related to clupeids or just share some characteristics of herrings (such as the lake herring, which is a salmonid). Just which of these species are called herrings can vary with locality, so what might be called a herring in one locality might be called something else in another locality.

 
The species of Clupea belong to the larger family Clupeidae (herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens), which comprises some 200 species that share similar features. These silvery-colored fish have a single dorsal fin, which is soft, without spines. They have no lateral line and have a protruding lower jaw. Their size varies between subspecies: the Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) is small, 14 to 18 centimeters; the proper Atlantic herring (C. h. harengus) can grow to about 46 cm (18 inches) and weigh up 700 g (1.5 pounds); and Pacific herring grow to about 38 cm (15 inches).

 
Adult herring are harvested for their flesh and eggs, and they are often used as baitfish. The trade in herring is an important sector of many national economies. In Europe the fish has been called the “silver of the sea”, and its trade has been so significant to many countries that it has been regarded as the most commercially important fishery in history.
Environmental Defense have suggested that the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) fishery is one of the more environmentally responsible fisheries.

 
Herring has been a staple food source since at least 3000 B.C. There are numerous ways the fish is served and many regional recipes:

A kipper or split smoked herring

A kipper or split smoked herring

eaten raw, fermented, pickled, or cured by other techniques, such as being smoked as kippers.
Herring are very high in the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They are a source of vitamin D.
Water pollution influences the amount of herring that may be safely consumed. For example, large Baltic herring slightly exceeds recommended limits with respect to PCB and dioxin, although some sources point out that the cancer-reducing effect of omega-3 fatty acids is statistically stronger than the cancer-causing effect of PCBs and dioxins. The contaminant levels depend on the age of the fish which can be inferred from their size. Baltic herrings larger than 17 cm may be eaten twice a month, while herrings smaller than 17 cm can be eaten freely. Mercury in fish also influences the amount of fish that women who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant within the next one or two years may safely eat.

Fish of the Week – Haddock

May 7, 2013 at 8:31 AM | Posted in fish | Leave a comment
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The haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food

Haddock at the New England Aquarium

Haddock at the New England Aquarium

fish and is widely fished commercially.
The haddock is easily recognized by a black lateral line running along its white side (not to be confused with pollock which has the reverse, i.e. white line on black side) and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a “thumbprint” or even the “Devil’s thumbprint” or “St. Peter’s mark”.
Haddock is most commonly found at depths of 40 to 133 m (130 to 436 ft), but has a range as deep as 300 m (980 ft). It thrives in temperatures of 2 to 10°C (36 to 50°F). Juveniles prefer shallower waters and larger adults deeper water. Generally, adult haddock do not engage in long migratory behaviour as do the younger fish, but seasonal movements have been known to occur across all ages. Haddock feed primarily on small invertebrates, although larger members of the species may occasionally consume fish.

 

 

Growth rates of haddock have changed significantly over the past 30 to 40 years. Presently, growth is more rapid, with haddock reaching their adult size much earlier than previously noted. However, the degree to which these younger fish contribute to reproductive success of the population is unknown. Growth rates of haddock, however, had slowed in recent years. Some evidence indicates it may be the result of an exceptionally large year class in 2003. Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking during late March and early April. The most important spawning grounds are in the waters off middle Norway, near southwest Iceland, and Georges Bank. An average-sized female produces approximately 850,000 eggs, and larger females are capable of producing up to 3 million eggs each year.

 

 

Reaching sizes up to 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in), haddock is fished for year-round. Some of the methods used are Danish seine nets, trawlers, long lines and fishing nets. The commercial catch of haddock in North America had declined sharply in recent years, but is now recovering, with recruitment rates running around where they historically were from the 1930s to 1960s.
In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the haddock to its seafood red list. “The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.”
Haddock populations on the offshore grounds of Georges Bank off New England and Nova Scotia have made a remarkable comeback with the adoption of catch shares management program, and are currently harvested at only a fraction of sustainable yields.

 

Haddock is a very popular food fish, sold fresh, smoked, frozen, dried, or to a small extent canned. Haddock, along with cod and plaice,

Smoked Haddock served with onions and red peppers

Smoked Haddock served with onions and red peppers

is one of the most popular fish used in British fish and chips.
Fresh haddock has a clean, white flesh and can be cooked in the same ways as cod. Freshness of a haddock fillet can be determined by how well it holds together, as a fresh one will be firm; also, fillets should be translucent, while older fillets turn chalky (nearly opaque). Young, fresh haddock and cod fillets are often sold as scrod in Boston, Massachusetts; this refers to the size of the fish which have a variety of sizes, i.e. scrod, markets, and cows. Haddock is the predominant fish of choice in Scotland in a fish supper. It is also the main ingredient of Norwegian fishballs (fiskeboller).
Unlike the related cod, haddock does not salt well and is often preserved by drying and smoking.
The smoking of haddock was highly refined in Grimsby. Traditional Grimsby smoked fish (mainly haddock, but sometimes cod) is produced in the traditional smokehouses in Grimsby, which are mostly family-run businesses that have developed their skills over many generations. Grimsby fish market sources its haddock from the North East Atlantic, principally Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. These fishing grounds are sustainably managed and have not seen the large scale depreciation in fish stocks seen in EU waters.
One popular form of haddock is Finnan haddie which takes its name from the fishing village of Finnan or Findon in Scotland, where it was originally cold-smoked over peat. Finnan haddie is often served poached in milk for breakfast.
The town of Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland produces the Arbroath smokie. This is a hot-smoked haddock which requires no further cooking before eating.
Smoked haddock naturally has an off-white colour; it is very often dyed yellow, as are other smoked fish. Smoked haddock is the essential ingredient in the Anglo-Indian dish kedgeree.

 

 
Baked Haddock
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 cup Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground dried thyme
4 haddock fillets
1/4 cup butter, melted (Blue Bonnet Light Stick Butter)

 
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
2. In a small bowl, combine the milk and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and thyme. Dip the haddock fillets in the milk, then press into the crumb mixture to coat. Place haddock fillets in a glass baking dish, and drizzle with melted butter.
3. Bake on the top rack of the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily, about 15 minutes.

 

 

Nutrition
Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Calories: 325
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 15.7g
Cholesterol: 103mg
Sodium: 1565mg
Amount Per Serving
Total Carbs: 17g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9g
Protein: 27.7g

Fish of the Week – Flounder

April 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Posted in fish | Leave a comment
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Flounder are a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish found at the bottom of coastal lagoons and estuaries of the Northern flounderAtlantic and Pacific Oceans.

 

There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.
* Western Atlantic
* Gulf flounder – Paralichthys albigutta
* Southern flounder – Paralichthys lethostigma
* Summer flounder (also known as fluke) – Paralichthys dentatus
* Winter flounder – Pseudopleuronectes americanus
* European waters
* European flounder – Platichthys flesus
* Northwestern Pacific
* Olive flounder – Paralichthys olivaceus

 

In its life cycle, an adult flounder has two eyes situated on one side of its head, while at hatching one eye is located on each side of its brain. One eye migrates to the other side of the body as a process of metamorphosis as it grows from larval to juvenile stage. As an adult, a flounder changes its habits and camouflages itself by lying on the bottom of the ocean floor as protection against predators. As a result, the eyes are then on the side which faces up. The side to which the eyes migrate is dependent on the species type.

 

Flounder ambush their prey, feeding at soft muddy areas of the sea bottom, near bridge piles, docks and coral reefs. They have been found at the bottom of the Mariana trench, the deepest known ocean canyon. Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lt. Don Walsh reached a depth of 10,916 meters (35,814 ft) and were surprised to discover sole or flounder about 30 cm long.
A flounder’s diet consists mainly of fish spawn, crustaceans, polychaetes and small fish. Flounder typically grow to a length of 12.5–37.5 centimeters (4.9–14.8 in), and as large as 60 centimeters (24 in). Their width is about half their length. Male Platichthys are known to display a pioneering spirit, and have been found up to 80 miles off the coast of northern Sardinia, sometimes with heavy encrustations of various species of Barnacle.

 

World stocks of large predatory fish and large ground fish such as sole and flounder were estimated in 2003 to be only about 10% of pre-industrial levels, largely due to overfishing. Most overfishing is due to the extensive activities of the fishing industry. Current estimates suggest that approximately 30 million flounder (excluding sole) are alive in the world today. In the Gulf of Mexico, along the coast of Texas, research indicates the flounder population could be as low as 15 million due to heavy overfishing and industrial pollution.
According to Seafood Watch, Atlantic flounder and sole are currently on the list of seafood that sustainability-minded consumers should avoid.

 

A flounder plays a prominent role in the German folk tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” collected by the Brothers Grimm and in Günter Grass’s novel The Flounder.
“Flounder” is the nickname given to the character Kent Dorfman (played by actor Stephen Furst) in the classic 1978 comedy film, Animal House.

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