Kitchen Hint of the Day!

November 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | 2 Comments
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Fresh fish is a summertime treat, but fresh fish smell in your microwave is not. Get rid of fish or other microwave odors by putting a quartered lemon or a small bowl of vanilla in your microwave for a minute or two on high.

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 – 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 – 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.

Fish of the Week – Anchovy

February 13, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Posted in fish | Leave a comment
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I’ve run weekly articles on fruit, vegetables, cheese and other items so why not one of my favorite foods – fish and seafood! I’ll start with the Anchovy and work my way down the list. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Anchovies are a family (Engraulidae) of small, common salt-water forage fish. There are 144 species in 17 genera, found in the Atlantic,

Anchovy closeup

Anchovy closeup

Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Anchovies are usually classified as an oily fish.
Anchovies are small, green fish with blue reflections due to a silver longitudinal stripe that runs from the base of the caudal fin. They range from 2 centimeters (0.79 in) to 40 centimeters (16 in) in adult length, and the body shape is variable with more slender fish in northern populations.
The snout is blunt with tiny, sharp teeth in both jaws. The snout contains a unique rostral organ, believed to be sensory in nature, although its exact function is unknown. The mouth is larger than that of herrings and silversides, two fish anchovies closely resemble in other respects. The anchovy eats plankton and fry (recently-hatched fish).
Anchovies are found in scattered areas throughout the world’s oceans, but are concentrated in temperate waters, and are rare or absent in very cold or very warm seas. They are generally very accepting of a wide range of temperatures and salinity. Large schools can be found in shallow, brackish areas with muddy bottoms, as in estuaries and bays. They are abundant in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Alboran Sea, and the Black Sea. The species is regularly caught along the coasts of Crete, Greece, Sicily, Italy, France, Turkey, and Spain. They are also found on the coast of northern Africa. The range of the species also extends along the Atlantic coast of Europe to the south of Norway. Spawning occurs between October and March, but not in water colder than 12 °C (54 °F). The anchovy appears to spawn at least 100 kilometers (62 mi) from the shore, near the surface of the water.
The anchovy is a significant food source for almost every predatory fish in its environment, including the California halibut, rock fish, yellowtail, shark, chinook, and coho salmon. It is also extremely important to marine mammals and birds; for example, breeding success of California brown pelicans and elegant terns is strongly connected to anchovy abundance.
A traditional method of processing and preserving anchovies is to gut and salt them in brine, allow them to mature, and then pack

Canned anchovies

Canned anchovies

them in oil or salt. This results in a characteristic strong flavor and the flesh turns deep grey. Pickled in vinegar, as with Spanish boquerones, anchovies are milder and the flesh retains a white color. In Roman times, anchovies were the base for the fermented fish sauce garum. Garum had a sufficiently long shelf life for long-distance commerce, and was produced in industrial quantities. Anchovies were also eaten raw as an aphrodisiac. Today they are used in small quantities to flavor many dishes. Because of the strong flavor, they are also an ingredient in several sauces and condiments, including Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing, remoulade, Gentleman’s Relish, many fish sauces, and in some versions of Café de Paris butter. For domestic use, anchovy fillets are packed in oil or salt in small tins or jars, sometimes rolled around capers. Anchovy paste is also available. Fishermen also use anchovies as bait for larger fish, such as tuna and sea bass.
The strong taste people associate with anchovies is due to the curing process. Fresh anchovies, known in Italy as alici, have a much milder flavor. In Sweden and Finland, the name anchovies is related strongly to a traditional seasoning, hence the product “anchovies” is normally made of sprats and also herring can be sold as “anchovy-spiced”, leading to confusion when translating recipes.

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