|Food facts: How do I find local, wild-caught fish?|
|Written by Sarah J. Sturtevant|
Enjoy these food facts from Sarah J. Sturtevant, Founder and CEO of sustainable food company, SaCaR Enterprises LLC and contributing author to Local In Season.
• More than 90% of seafood consumed in the US is imported. The species that American’s most often eat (e.g. Tuna, Salmon, Cod, Shrimp), are not as plentiful in Northeastern waters, it is easier/cheaper to import and processing is often done outside the US.
• Roughly 70% of seafood consumed in the US is eaten in restaurants. Not knowing how to cook fish, uncertainty as to the “shelf life” of fresh fish, cost and the smell are reasons often sited for not cooking seafood at home.
• New England fishing volume has declined by 40+% since 1950. Retailers sell consumers the species of fish they demand. Consumers’ preferences have not kept pace with local fish availability, and changing preferences towards local, and plentiful, species is a slow process.
• There are no US organic standards for fish farming. Farmed fish may be fed GMO soy meal. Wild caught fish may not use the “organic” label either, although it’s highly unlikely wild fish are consuming non-organic food.
• There are 5 wild species which are bountiful in Northeastern waters, and considered underutilized. These species are well managed and a key to sustaining the fishing industry in the Northeast.
• Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) provides verification of responsibly harvested seafood that is traceable to the Gulf of Maine.
How do I find Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested seafood?
Look for their logo below. Many grocery stores (such as Hannaford and Shaw’s) carry Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested seafood.
What are under-utilized, local species?
• Arcadian Redfish (also called Ocean Perch)
• Atlantic Mackerel
Which grocery stores carry these fish in suburban Boston?
A recent check of a couple of suburban Boston grocery stores found both Atlantic Mackerel and Redfish (Ocean Perch) at Wegman’s in Newton on route 9. I purchased two $4.49/lb Redfish and had Wegman’s remove the heads and scales. I also found Pollock fillets for $5.99/lb with the Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested certification at Hannaford’s on Main Street in Waltham.
How do I cook these less well known species?
Three ingredients (Redfish, lemon, thyme);
1. Season the whole fish with lemon slices, thyme and salt&pepper (this fish is very mild, so some may prefer more seasoning)
2. Roast the fish at 375 degrees for ~35 minutes
Tip: I line my roasting pan w. foil and make sure to remove both the grocery store packing paper, and aluminum foil, to the outside trash bin to avoid the after-smell.
• NOAA Fishwatch http://www.fishwatch.gov/farmed_seafood/outside_the_us.htm
• Jen Levin, Sustainable Seafood Program Manager, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
• Ross Medeiros, North Coast Seafood
• State of Marine Fisheries in Maine 2008, colby.edu
• Recipe from Wegman’s seafood manager