SEAFOOD UPDATE 20-08-2018

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Monday, 20 Aug 2018

For All Our Buyers and Chefs:

 

Pompano   6.10

Pompano

Pompano is structured like a flatfish and weighs less than 3 pounds. The silvery skin is edible and needs no scaling. Pompano meat is firm, finely flaked, with a sweet, mild flavor and moderate fat content. The flesh is pearly white, stays white when cooked. Pompano lends itself to cooking whole since it is easy to eat off the bone. When serving, try to display the attractive skin.

 

Wild striped bass   8.10

Wild Stripped Bass

Wild Striped Bass swims along the East Coast. Moderately fatty, Striped Bass has a rich flavor and a large, firm flake. When cooked, the flesh is white and moist and the cooked crispy skin is also popular for its taste.

 

Icelandic cod   6.95

Icelandic Cod

From the deep cold waters of Iceland, these Cod are both large, up to 25lbs, and beautiful. Under the skin is a little bit of extra fat to keep the lean fish moist during cooking. These fish have a large white flake and are great for a soup, stew or pan roasted.

 

 

Beer, Drinking Water And Fish: Tiny Plastic Is Everywhere

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August 20, 2018 - Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what's out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it's thrown away, it doesn't just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces. Scientists call the tiny pieces "microplastics" and define them as objects smaller than 5 millimeters — about the size of one of the letters on a computer keyboard. Researchers started to pay serious attention to microplastics in the environment about 15 years ago. They're in oceans, rivers and lakes. They're also in soil. Recent research in Germany found that fertilizer made from composted household waste contains microplastics. 

And, even more concerning, microplastics are in drinking water. In beer. In sea salt. In fish and shellfish. How microplastics get into animals is something of a mystery, and Chelsea Rochman is trying to solve it. Rochman is an ecologist at the University of Toronto. She studies how plastic works its way into the food chain, from tiny plankton to fish larvae to fish, including fish we eat. She says understanding how plastic gets into fish matters not just to the fish, but to us. "We eat fish that eat plastic," she says. "Are there things that transfer to the tissue? Does the plastic itself transfer to the tissue? Do the chemicals associated with the plastic transfer to the tissue?"

Rochman says she has always loved cleaning up. She remembers how, as a 6-year-old, she puzzled her parents by volunteering to clean the house. In high school in Arizona she got even more ambitious. "I used to take my friends into the desert and clean up a mile of trash every Earth Day," she says. "I remember finding weird old dolls and strange old toys that I thought were creepy, but that I would also keep." As a graduate student, she landed a spot on a research vessel to visit the infamous floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. She and the other scientists on the trip were supposed to count the plastic as it drifted by.

She remembers the moment they sailed into the patch, "Everyone runs up to the bow and says, 'There's trash, there's trash, everyone start counting the trash.' And so we all start counting the trash." But something was wrong. "We're looking and it's, like, basically a soup of confetti, of tiny little plastic bits everywhere," she remembers. "Everyone just stops counting. [They] sat there, their backs up against the wall and said, 'OK, this is a real issue, [and it's] not an island of trash you can pick up."

To Rochman, a third thing was also clear: "The tiny stuff, for me as an ecologist, this is really getting into the food chain. You could spend a career studying this stuff." So she did. A typical day for Rochman might start alongside sparkling Lake Ontario, where parks line the shore and joggers and picnickers enjoy the shoreline scenery. The lake, however, hides a mostly invisible menace. To see it, Rochman's student, Kennedy Bucci, brings us to an inlet that's ankle-deep in washed-up debris. An apartment building looms overhead. They squat down, reach into the muck and quickly find what they're looking for. "I'm digging and just finding more and more," Rochman says. "Like whole bottle caps. This is insane."

"It's so ingrained in the soil," says Bucci. She comes here regularly to collect plastic for Rochman's research. They work quickly, filling a jar with bits of plastic. Rochman, who's not wearing gloves, inadvertently picks up something she wishes she hadn't. "Oh!" she laughs, flinging it aside. "That's why you've got gloves on," she tells Bucci, and then gets right back to digging. Since she started studying microplastics, Rochman has found them in the outflow from sewage treatment plants. And they've shown up in insects, worms, clams, fish and birds.

To study how that happens, Bucci makes her own microplastics from the morning's collection. She takes a postage stamp-size piece of black plastic from the jar, and grinds it into particles using a coffee grinder. "So this is the plastic that I feed to the fish," she says. The plastic particles go into beakers of water containing fish larvae from fathead minnows, the test-animals of choice in marine toxicology. Tanks full of them line the walls of the lab. Bucci uses a pipette to draw out a bunch of larvae that have already been exposed to these ground-up plastic particles. The larva's gut is translucent. We can see right into it. "You can see kind of a line of black, weirdly shaped black things," she points out. "Those are the microplastics." The larva has ingested them.

Rochman says microplastic particles can sicken or even kill larvae and fish in their experiments. Plastic can also get into fish tissue, particularly plastic fibers from clothing such as fleece. Rochman found fleece fibers in fish from San Francisco Bay. She also looked in fish from Indonesia, a tropical country whose residents are not known for dressing in fleece. She found plastic in Indonesian fish guts, but no fibers, suggesting that fish bodies tell a story about what kind of plastic resides in local waters. Rochman took this line of research a step further when she bought a washing machine for her lab and washed fleece clothing. Lots of plastic fibers came out in the filter she added to collect the wastewater. In fact, she has found microplastics floating in the air. "If you put a piece of double-sided sticky tape on a lab bench for an hour, you come back and it's got four plastic fibers on it," she says.

Most plastic is inert; it does not readily react chemically with other substances, and that's one reason it has been so successful. Plastic is resilient, durable and doesn't easily degrade. It's a vital part of medical equipment and has revolutionized packaging, especially food storage. But, over time, plastic can break down and shed the chemicals that make it useful, such as phthalates and bisphenol A. These substances are common in the environment and their effects on human health are of concern to public health scientists and advocates, but few large-scale, definitive studies have been done. Plastic also attracts other chemicals in the water that latch onto it, including toxic industrial compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Plastic becomes a chemical Trojan horse.

Rochman notes that this kind of research is relatively new; most of the environmental studies on microplastics have come out within the past 10 years. "The things we don't know," she says, are daunting. "What are all the sources where it's coming from, so that we can think about where to turn it off? And once it gets in the ocean, where does it go? Which is super-important because then we can understand how it impacts wildlife and humans."  She says she's ready to spend the rest of her career finding out.

 

Nashville Restaurant Educates Customers On Sustainable Seafood

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Americans love seafood, so much so that we're overfishing some of our favorite species. Now some restaurants are making a commitment to serve sustainable seafood. Amy Eskind from member station WPLN visited a restaurant in Nashville and listened in on a teachable dinner.

AMY ESKIND, BYLINE: At seafood restaurant Fin & Pearl, Danny Butler does his regular lunchtime shtick for diners.

DANNY BUTLER: Today on the yellowedge grouper is our sauteed option that's coming from Cape Canaveral. We also have grilled striped bass today - comes from Massachusetts - delicious options today.

ESKIND: But this isn't the typical rundown of lunch specials. If customers ask, Butler can give a lot more information about the catch, down to the name of the captain of the fishing boat. The restaurant only buys fish caught in a way that doesn't harm the fish stock or the ocean ecosystem. That makes diner Tricia Eusibo happy.

TRICIA EUSIBO: People - we don't know what sustainable seafood is or what that really means until you come in, and then it's like a double - added value that that's part of something that tastes so great. That and the food make me want to eat here.

ESKIND: Last winter, customers came in hankering for stone crabs. Waitress Alanna Quinn-Broadus had bad news. Scores of octopus in south Florida were scarfing down the crabs, causing an unexpected shortage. She didn't just apologize, she gave diners a full explanation.

ALANNA QUINN-BROADUS: They're, like, bummed that the stone crab claw's not available, but they're also, like, oh, you're not serving it because the population is low. And then you can say, oh, but, like, eat the octopus, and you can get your crab claws back. And it's entertaining. It's educational. And it's just part of, like, the thing here, you know what I mean? It's part of, like, the whole mission.

ESKIND: That mission was started by Nashville restaurateur Tom Morales. As a fisherman himself, his passion is evident. He says sustainable seafood comes at a premium that's worth the higher cost in the long run.

TOM MORALES: I think there's going to be a point of - oh, heck moment where everybody's going to say, we screwed up.

ESKIND: Species depletion isn't the industry's only problem. There are ties to slavery, questionable fish farming practices, and even fraud, passing off a low-cost fish for a pricey one. At least in the United States, the industry is trying to clean up. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program in California is trying to help restaurants and consumers. The aquarium's Ryan Bigelow says the list of which fish to buy and which to avoid changes.

RYAN BIGELOW: The onus is and should be on the business to provide that information, not for the consumer to have to go fishing for it, pardon the pun.

ESKIND: But he says diners can help by ordering something perhaps unfamiliar. Back at Fin & Pearl, diners won't see Chilean sea bass, but they may find Alaskan inconnu. Lunchtime regular Lynn Tinsey is receptive. She comes in for the rotating catch-of-the-day sandwich.

LYNN TINSEY: I always say, is it a white fish? And they're like, yep. And I'm like, great, let's try it. But I can't remember any of the names.

ESKIND: To keep a healthy supply of seafood on the table for years to come, more and more restaurants are making a commitment to serve sustainable fish, and the dining public is slowly catching on. For NPR News, I'm Amy Eskind in Nashville.