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“The people who fish really matter, and they matter for the sake of our marine ecosystem and for our local and regional economies. Simple and sustainable supply chains matter. Thinking about seasonality matters. Paying a fair price matters. Community-based approaches to managing the fish matter. And the current direction of the National Seafood Council task force is invisibilizing all of those values”

Brett Tolley, national program coordinator at the North American Marine Alliance (NAMA) and One Fish Foundation Board Member, in a Civil Eats article about the formation and direction of the new National Seafood Council. See news item below.

Got global seafood? Photo: NOAA

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is staggering on many fronts. It highlights the problems of an increasingly globalized seafood supply chain, including shipping delays and price spikes. Growing support for boycotting Russian seafood sheds light on how complex this issue is. Yes, the intent is to economically squeeze the Kremlin and oligarchs in power. However, a seafood boycott may have little effect on the regime and the invasion, but it could cause great hardship for many thousands of industry workers and consumers who do not support the invasion. Lost in all of this is the intrinsic fallout of being mired in such a globalized food system. If we focused more on supporting community-based seafood systems, which have been a beacon of light during the pandemic, the U.S. would not have to import more than 80% of the seafood we eat, thereby reducing our susceptibility to global supply chain issues.  That's why we keep uplifting the values of providing good, clean, fair seafood to all. In this issue, we share more narratives around the lobster-right whale issue in the Gulf of Maine, including how to discuss the intersection of policy, climate change, and markets with graduate students. We also talk about questions around a proposed National Seafood Council, hear how Irish fishermen stood up to the Russian Navy, see new research on baby lobster population projections, and learn about some cool upcoming events. There's also an illuminating jellyfish and a great cod recipe. Enjoy!

One Fish Foundation News
March 2022
Genevieve McDonald lobsters off of Stonington, Maine and is a state legislator. Photo: Jamie Mercurio 

Right Whale-lobster issue in context

  • Edible Maine column -- The best way to understand an issue as convoluted and far-reaching as this is to discover different perspectives involved. I had the privilege of speaking with commercial lobstermen Genevieve McDonald (above) and Eben Wilson, scientists Bob Steneck and Sean Todd, Commissioner of Maine's Department of Natural Resources Pat Keliher, and Chef Daron Goldstein about how this issue affects them and their work for this story in Edible Maine.
  • Lobstermen struggling to comply with May 1 gear deadline -- Aside from the lawsuits, the intense politicization, and the pull-at-your-heartstrings drama over the lives of whales and lobstermen, some thorny practical issues may stand in the way of widespread compliance with new gear regulations aimed at minimizing whale entanglement. It's now early March, and many Maine lobstermen have not yet acquired the federally mandated gear that's supposed to be in use by May 1. Depending on where they fish, most lobstermen will have to have some form of weak connections between their buoys and their traps. The idea being that the ropes will break at the weak link (a clip, a breakaway knot etc.) if a whale swims into it. Lobstermen say there isn't a lot of this gear available, and that it's an added expense. A couple of manufacturers say they have stock of the approved gear, but that very few folks are buying it. The level of compliance by the May 1 deadline will be telling.
  • Northeast lobster may lose sustainability rating -- As if the issue weren't fraught enough, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program is mulling whether to put American lobster from the U.S. and Canada on its Red List due to concerns over right whale entanglement. Another major certification label, the Marine Stewardship Council, has rescinded (August 2020) and recently reinstated (October 2021) Maine lobster's certification. Certification schemes like these carry a host of issues, including questionable (read: paid) verification processes, trust, and gravely misaligned values. However, they also form the foundation for how major supply chain players like Whole Foods,  Red Lobster, and Aramark source lobster. Removing those labels could have a significant impact on the industry, which shattered the record for landings value with a $725 million haul in 2021.


Federally approved ropeless gear is expensive ($4,000 on average) and not yet commercially available.

Similar issue, different geography
Stories resonate when they apply locally. So when talking about climate impacts on fisheries on the East Coast with folks in California, it helps to have a similar example on the West Coast. Such was the case recently when speaking with some University of California, Santa Cruz marine policy graduate students about the complex issue of reducing right whale mortality in the Gulf of Maine. We discussed the difficult decisions fisheries managers face when trying to ensure endangered species like whales don't get entangled in fishing gear, whether we're talking about humpback whales and crab pots off the California coast or right whales and lobster traps off Maine. A couple of key thoughts that arose from our smaller group discussions: 1. We need better real-time visibility into where large marine mammals like whales are in relation to fishing zones; 2. Fisheries managers, scientists, and politicians need to ensure fishermen have a meaningful voice when weighing the implications of policy, particularly policy that has such direct and intense impacts on fishermen. Thanks to colleague Stephanie Webb for inviting me to speak to her class!

LCN Local Seafood Summit going down in Alaska in Oct.
The Local Catch Network's next Local Seafood Summit will be held at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, AK, just outside of Anchorage on Oct. 2-3. The event will bring community-supported fisheries, other seafood businesses, fishermen, scientists, chefs, and advocates from across the country to share stories, group-think challenges and uplift the Local Catch Core Values. Stay tuned for more information about calls for presentation, programming, registration and more.


Donate to One Fish Foundation Now
Calls for Action
Here are concrete action items and opportunities to make your voice heard
or learn more about crucial issues.
Support permanent protections for Bristol Bay
Sign on letter calling for a stop to Canadian mining near salmon rivers
  • Salmon Beyond Borders' sign on letter to the Biden Administration calling for outreach to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to ban toxic mining near critical, cross-boundary salmon watersheds such as the Taku, Stikine and Unuk rivers.
Take action to defend the Tongass National Forest
  • Watch "UNDERSTORY", a compelling documentary about the magic, mystery, and immense importance of the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. This documentary follows a young fisherwoman's stunning journey to protect the world's largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest.
  • Take action by signing on to this letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack:
 Help #BlockCorporateSalmon
Sustainable Seafood News
Here's what you need to be hearing about, thinking about, and why.
Eat more seafood!... But make sure it's local and small-scale
There's an effort to create a national seafood body that promotes eating seafood. That would be great if the project weren't being driven by billion-dollar behemoths like Bumble Bee and Cooke Aquaculture, which have poured millions into sponsoring this effort, while advocating for industrial seafood supply chains. Essentially, they're hijacking the "sustainable" seafood narrative just to get folks to buy more seafood, regardless of how sustainable it actually is or where it comes from. The  National Seafood Council's proposed digital marketing campaign: “Eat Seafood, America!” would be better if it actually focused on supporting domestic community-based fisheries, where fishermen care about healthy oceans and waterways, as well as the direct relationships they have with folks in their communities. Here's a link to a  great article about the issue and what's at stake.
The Pebble Mine exploration site at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
Congressional letter urges EPA to accelerate Bristol Bay protections
Several members of Congress recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up the process to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska, home of the world's largest wild sockeye salmon run, from the proposed Pebble Mine. On January 28, the EPA announced it would restart the review process to determine if the massive proposed copper and gold mine would violate the Clean Water Act. The letter states that choosing to restart the lengthy process, "...rather than resume the previously initiated process, will cause needless delays in protecting this special area, against the express wishes of Tribes and fishing groups in the region to complete the process by the start of the fishing season in June." The letter goes on to “encourage EPA to complete its efforts under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act as expeditiously as possible and finalize permanent measures to protect Bristol Bay for current and future generations.” This is why it's important to keep up the pressure. See calls for action above to get involved and help protect this priceless natural resource.
Ireland fishermen win standoff with Russia Navy
At a time when most of the world is condemning Russian aggression, an Irish fishing community stood up to Russia's Navy's plans to conduct military exercises within 150 miles of the Irish coast last January. Fishermen appealed to Russia's consulate that such drills, scheduled for February, would not only endanger fishermen who fished those waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone (which reaches 200 miles off the coast) but also seriously harm the fishery and the fish. Thankfully, the Russians backed down and canceled those drills in that location.  

Newly molted juvenile American lobster (top) that has shed its old shell.  Photo: NOAA
Baby lobster population low in Gulf of Maine
Juvenile lobster populations have been declining for several years, and the long-term implications for Maine's now burgeoning lobster harvest aren't great, according to recent studies by University of Maine Professor and scientist Rick Wahle. At the same time, there has been a growing population of young lobsters in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine and these recent geographic shifts in young lobster communities reinforce speculation that lobsters continue to move north and east to cooler waters where they can grow, reproduce, and stay healthy. Warmer water apparently makes them more susceptible to shell disease, which is what prompted the decline and now eventual elimination of the once vibrant lobster fishery in Long Island sound. This type of research is critical to not just understanding what's happening in the Gulf of Maine, but to figuring out how we will need to adapt to future oceanic shifts. It will be important to involve all stakeholders, especially lobstermen, in these type of decisions.
SEA: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty
Join North American Marine Alliance and Real Food Media for SEA: The Struggle for Sovereignty this Friday (3/11) at 10 am PT/ 1 pm ET. We'll hear from Carl Wassilie of Dam Watch International and Peleke Flores of Mālama Hulēʻia together to talk about an often-overlooked part of our food system: our waterways. They'll share stories of resistance against the corporate takeover of the ocean and their efforts to protect keystone species, livelihoods, and cultures along the Pacific Northwest and in Hawai’i. Click here for more information and to register
MFCN Waterside Chat with Chef Dana Honn on 3/16

The Marine Fish Conservation Network will interview Slow Fish North America advocate Chef Dana Honn on March 16 at 3 p.m. ET for the next episode of the network's new livestream series, Waterside Chat. Waterside Chat connects people who depend on healthy oceans and fisheries with the issues that directly affect them and their communities. Chef Dana co-owns and operates Carmo in New Orleans, and has been a frequent guest on Slow Fish North America webinars, panel discussions, and in-person events both as chef and speaker. MFCN Deputy Director Tom Sadler will talk with Chef Dana about seafood, the culinary world and his involvement in marine resource advocacy. Register for free for the March 16 Waterside Chat here

Fascinating Fish of the Month
A rare spectacle of the deep sea, the firework jellyfish gains its vibrant appearance when illuminated by external sources, like the lights of the exploratory vehicle in this case. Photo:  EVNautilus Live
Firework Jellyfish ( Halitrephes maasi)

Size: 5.9 feet long
Habitat: Deep Sea
Good at: Lighting up the room
Bad at: Toning it down

First discovered in 1909, it was most recently seen in depths of around 4,000 feet off the Baja California Peninsula, but has been observed all around the world. The vibrant pattern is created as nutrients move through the jelly's bell, forming the starburst pattern. Without the lights of the Nautilus, the firework jellyfish drifts around virtually unseen. Check out this Nautilus Live video of this beautiful creature. 
Sustainable Seafood Recipes
Perfect for the remaining chilly days as we inch closer to spring, this recipe is quick and kid-friendly!   Photo: NOAA
Seared Cod with Chive Butter Sauce
North American Marine Alliance

Serves: 4

  • 4 cod fillets (6 oz each)
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, for egg wash
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Butter sauce
For Butter Sauce
  • 2 cups white wine (recommended: chardonnay)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
2. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish. In a separate dish add 2 beaten eggs.
3. Season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper. Once seasoned, brush the belly side of the cod with the egg, then dip the egg side into bread crumbs. 
4. Add grapeseed oil to a cast iron skillet.
5. To the hot skillet, place the fish bread crumb side down and sear. Once seared, place the skillet in the oven for 3-4 minutes until cooked.
6. Once cooked, flip fillets over and add lemon juice, butter, and a sprig of thyme. Let melt, then use to baste the fish. 
7. Pour over the butter sauce and serve. 

For Butter Sauce

1. In a saucepan, add wine, thyme, shallot, and garlic. Set on a back burner to allow the wine to reduce. 
2. Once the sauce is reduced to a syrup, strain and add the heavy cream and lemon juice. Bring to a slight simmer. 
3. Whisk in cold butter. Once melted, add fresh chives and season with black pepper. 

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Thanks for joining us as we continue the discussion about why we all need to know where, when, how and by whom our seafood was harvested. We hope to build a community of knowledgeable consumers who individually and collectively are making a difference with each seafood choice they make, and conversation they have.

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