Seasonal News - November 2019

We hear it all the time, in all sectors of the food business- what can we get that is local and sustainable? People are so tuned into the environmental impacts of the food that they chose. That makes those of us in the industry accountable for providing information and fish choices that help with these decisions. We are lucky to be situated in an area that is so close to the supply of so much wonderful seafood. We have proven to be good guardians of our resource too! Years of quotas and conservancy has now resulted in the resurgence of the biomass of many local fish species. Fresh Rockfish, Ling Cod, Black Cod and Petrale Sole have all been listed as good alternatives on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Watch list and the supply has improved too. Of course, the rough weather in the winter months will cause holes in the supply but it is nice to know that our own coast has a healthy supply of healthy seafood!

Dungeness crab season is the shining star on our local seafood calendar. The local California Dungeness Crab season begins on November 15th, with large areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington slated for a December 1st opening. The past few years have shown us that these dates turn out to be changeable as ocean conditions dictate. Previous seasons have been delayed due to increased levels of domoic acid found in the crabs. Domoic acid is a natural substance that is produced by algae in the ocean. When the water temperature is warmer than usual, the amount of domoic acid is present in larger quantities than normal. As the crabs eat the algae, the buildup of domoic acid in their bodies can also increase. Our California Department of Fish and Game is stringent in the testing for this substance and will not allow crabbing in areas that show the buildup. It is hard to say what this season will bring at this date, but we all hope for cool waters ahead!

Wild Salmon season is closed for the year and we are happy to report that it was one of the more successful seasons that we have recently experienced. The 2019 California Commercial King Salmon fishery went from May 16th to mid-October. Landings of fish were reported by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to be 50% higher than initial predictions. The increase could be attributed to the increased amount of rain the state withstood last winter. The higher river levels allow for freer movement of fish to spawn and return to the ocean. We are now carrying our very high quality Frozen at Sea King and Coho salmon. The fish are all head off and gutted and are processed and frozen as soon as they are caught. All the fish are caught by hook and line, the most sustainable and least damaging way to catch salmon.

The 2019 Northern Halibut season ends in November. The quota for the year was 38,610,000 lbs. This was an increase of 3% over the 2018 quota. The catch quotas are established by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), which is an Intergovernmental organization, comprised of appointed commissioners from Canada and the United States. Halibut populations are intensely scrutinized to establish optimal levels for ongoing wellbeing of the species. Over the winter months, frozen Halibut provides a high quality option for chefs who want to continue to offer this very popular fish on their menus.

We hear it all the time, in all sectors of the food business...
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