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Hello, Apologies for the duplicate newsletter! I mistakenly sent out a draft that included a partial item about corporate hijacking of food systems. The United Nations Food Systems Summit is scheduled for a virtual meeting on Sept. 23. Several organizations including One Fish Foundation, North American Marine Alliance, the National Family Farm Coalition, Slow Food, Slow Fish, and others are concerned with some of the corporate entities working to direct the narrative, effectively disenfranchising many communities in need of better food security. I will report on the counter-movement and messaging planned to spotlight the problems with corporate takeover of food supply chains, including seafood, in next month's newsletter.

Cheers, Colles

"Lots of people don't have anything left. The community is going to be a lot smaller after this. And that's going to affect everything. There won't be any infrastructure left to support the [seafood] industry."

 Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp talking about the long-term impact of Hurricane Ida's massive destruction in southern Louisiana.

NOAA satellite image of some of the destruction in Terrebonne Parish near where Lance Nacio lives.
 
Tales
Sixteen years ago on August 30 I was frantically trying to check in with my parents in New Orleans the day after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city and left many homeless and without power for weeks. Amazingly, I reached them via landline as all cell networks were down. They got out three days after the storm hit and eventually moved to Texas even though there was minimal damage to their house. Something shifted for them and the entire city. Hurricane Ida certainly left many Katrina survivors still living in southern Louisiana with some form of PTSD. This time New Orleans was spared the worst of the damage, but the coastal communities like Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes bore the brunt of sustained 150 mph winds. The devastation, coupled with the mounting exasperation and anxiety of living in such a vulnerable area may lead to an even greater exodus than what Katrina sparked. I wrote a blog about my conversations with Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp in Montegut, LA. and Chef Dana Honn of Carmo restaurant in NOLA about the hurricane's near- and long-term impacts and what people can do to help. Also in this issue are stories about seabird deaths along Alaska's west coast; new limits on Gulf of Maine lobstering this fall due to right whale protections; mounting opposition to two threats to wild Atlantic salmon in Maine; a new bill to strengthen domestic fisheries management; healthy giant sea bass populations; and one freaky Yeti Crab. Enjoy!

 
One Fish Foundation News
September 2021

Satellite image of Hurricane Ida

Ida shows why fisheries policy must account for climate change


Coastal Louisiana has been on the front lines of climate change for years, with some estimates the state is losing a football field of shore every 15 minutes. Then a massive Category 4 hurricane like Ida comes in and lashes fragile coastal communities with 130-150 mph winds sustained over several hours and unleashes flooding in areas with weak levies. The long-term view of the seafood supply chain from southern Louisiana looks grim as many peopple who have lost everything may not return. This means fishermen, and all of the attendant infrastructure businesses that support them. All of this is a stark reminder of why new fisheries policy must account for climate impacts. Failure to do so will lead to the bleak horizon for the seafood industry in southern La. Check out a blog I wrote featuring perspectives from Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp in Montegut in Terrebonne Parish and Chef Dana Honn of Carmo restaurant in New Orleans. 

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Opportunities for Action
Here are concrete action items and opportunities to make your voice heard or to learn more about crucial issues.
Support Hurricane Ida relief and recovery projects
  • Chef Dana Honn is raising money to support Lance Nacio’s efforts to help his community and feed first responders and line workers.
    • Venmo: @Lance-Nacio
    • PalPal: orders@annamarieshrimp.com
    • Zelle: Lance Nacio
  • Coastal Communities Consulting, Inc. is a nonprofit organization supporting coastal businesses and fishermen in La. It is doing good work to provide info on everything from prescriptions to food and water as well as coordinating donations.
  • Gulf South Rapid Response Community Controlled Fund provides disaster relief directly to frontline communities in the Gulf South impacted by climate disasters. Local leaders have committed to a transparent and accountable process for the money – which will allow communities to practice self-governance and self-determination.
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.
Help #BlockCorporateSalmon
Sustainable Seafood News
Here's what you need to be hearing about, thinking about, and why.
Caribou depend on ANWR. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Alaska pursues Arctic oil exploration, despite Biden's pause on drilling
In what appears to be a provocative move, the state of Alaska has initiated the process for finding companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite the Biden administration's decision to pause any exploration or drilling. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority announced that it “intends to hire a company to take steps that could lead to oil exploration” within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Biden administration has paused any exploration and drilling, citing “multiple legal deficiencies” with the Trump administration’s leasing program. Existing leases have been suspended and could be terminated. Several groups are suing the state to stop oil and gas activity in the refuge, and Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, put it best when reflecting on the state’s decision to move forward with exploration: “They are being petty, inconsiderate and violating the rights of the Indigenous people whose lives will be impacted.”
Dead sea birds showing up on Alaska's Western coast for 5th straight year
Scientists are scrambling to understand why a variety of different seabirds have been showing up emaciated and dead along several coastal communities. They are reasonably confident the birds are not finding enough of the food they normally depend on. But many questions remain as to why. Initial speculation suggests that increasing temperatures near the ocean floor may have some impact on the bait species the seabirds normally eat. Additionally, researchers are also observing low numbers of nesting sites in different coastal areas. More research is certainly needed, but we're willing to bet that climate change and our continued dependence on fossil fuels (see ANWR oil exploration news item above) have an impact. The repeated die-offs are also causing concern among Indigenous coastal communities. 

 
Lobster boats in Maine. Photo: Ted Van Pelt via Flickr
Large area of Gulf of Maine closed to traditional lobstering during  high season
A new federal rule will close 950 square miles of prime lobstering area off the coast of Maine to traditional rope-and-buoy traps during the high season from Oct. to June to protect endangered right whales. Those using experimental ropeless technology will be allowed to fish during that time. NOAA claims that "only" about 120 lobstermen would be affected (but not the bulk of the fleet fishing closer to shore). Yet very few folks are really happy with the rule. The lobster industry and Maine's governor and Congressional delegation claim this rule will put many out of business by closing off the fishery when lobsters fetch the highest prices. Environmentalists don't think the rule goes far enough to protect the whales, whose population is now believed to be about 360. That population has dropped in the last couple of decades because of ship strikes and gear entanglements. Maine lobstermen claim they are being unfairly penalized since only one whale entanglement has been attributed to Maine lobster gear (in 2004), while most of the entanglements are due to Canadian snow crab gear. There are no easy solutions here. Deployong ropeless traps will be too expensive for many lobstermen. Weak ropes, which would allow adult whales to break free pose other costs and risks. Although this issue could end up in litigation, two truths still stand: 1. No one wants to kill whales. 2. Maine's lobstermen are essential to the state's economic health. Meanwhile, research continues on ropeless technology.
 
Cooke gets permit to stock net pens 4 years after catastrophic escape
The state of Washington has granted Cooke Aquaculture the permits to stock 365,000 steelhead trout in net pens off the coast. The Supreme Court of Washington state will hear from a group of conservation groups that have challenged the initial permits in September. This comes four years after a catastrophic net-pen collapse allowed more than 260,000 non-native, farmed Atlantic salmon to escape, threatening wild Pacific salmon populations and competing for habitat. Environmental groups are also concerned about how poor water quality from the farms could impact southern resident orcas in the area. 
Seafood with values
Captain Tim Rider and Kayla Cox of New England Fishmongers shared the importance of  bringing values into the seafood supply chain during a recent podcast with Wildfed. Values like honoring the fish (treating the product with absolute care to preserve quality) and honoring fishermen and women (paying them a fair price), buying local (know your fish harvester), among others, -- are critical to building trust and transparency from boat to plate. Everyone wins. Tim and Kayla talk about important relationships they've forged with other fishermen like Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Shrimp in LA. and Yakobi Fisheries in AK. who share the same values, and the benefits to both fishermen and customers. Sharing these values with a broader audience helps bring the change we want to see.
 
Giant Sea Bass populations may be healthier than we think
Tipping the scales at up to 700 lbs and reaching up to 6 feet, the giant sea bass may not be as endangered as scientists previously feared, according to a recent article in SciTechDaily. Once thought critically endangered, the goliath fish seems to have a fairly stable stock size in its southern range off Baja, Mexic0. The researcher who wrote the article says the fish's prevalence at fish markets coupled with recent empirical catch data suggests the population is not as imperiled as formerly thought. He points to "how asymmetry in research and data can create significant barriers to understanding the past and present status of a species like the giant sea bass and make it harder to implement sustainable practices for the future." Translation: species whose habitat spans multiple jurisdictions require a more collaborative and comprehensive approach to research and management to ensure sustainable management.
 
Weston Dam, one of four on the Kennebec River in Maine that blocks spawning migration of Atlantic salmon and other anadromous fish.  Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM /Flickr
Opposition mounts against threats to wild Atlantic salmon in Maine
Struggling wild Atlantic salmon populations have been pushed to the brink because of a nasty combination of centuries of unfettered over-harvest and wanton habitat destruction via scores of dams preventing access to critical spawning grounds. Two current threats continue to hamper the species' recovery, and these issues have become battlegrounds between environmentalism and capitalism.
  • Un-damming the Kennebec River: Scientists and environmentalists have long argued that removing dams to historic salmon rivers will spark their return to spawn ... slowly, but surely.  Getting the owners of those dams, usually hydro-power companies, to agree to demolish the dams is hard. This is particularly true when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues a misguided edict that wild salmon can coexist with four dams on the Kennebec. Several organizations and the state are looking for ways to remove the dams either by purchasing them or filing lawsuits. It's an uphill battle, much like the salmon's journey upstream. Check out this Wabanaki perspective on what dam removal would mean to that community and the sea-run fish it has depended on for centuries.
  • Industrial finfish aquaculture: A massive net pen salmon farm is being proposed for Frenchman Bay, just outside of Acadia National Park. The farm would house up to 30 150-foot net pens with millions of fish, requiring an average of nearly 2.5 million pounds of food (either based on wild forage fish or mono-crop soy) per month. This does not include the chemical and pharmaceutical inputs to manage sea lice and disease. Not only can an operation this size pose significant threats of disease to nearby wild salmon populations, but the threat of an algal bloom from excess nutrient load (salmon poop, undigested food, etc.) could impact the entire marine ecosystem in the region. Plus, an operation this size would close 100 acres of prime lobstering grounds that have been productive for decades.
Bill to re-authorize US primary fisheries law begins its journey
Last month, Congressman Jared Huffman of California and Ed Case of Hawaii introduced the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act, legislation to update and reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the primary law governing federal fisheries management. Huffman and Case submitted the bill after conducting a national in-person and virtual tour listening to public input on what improvements domestic fisheries need. Some of the issues raised and included in the bill focus on incorporating climate change into management practices; supporting fishing communities; strengthening public process and transparency (inviting disparate perspectives to the policy process); improving fisheries science and data; and protecting essential fish habitats to support healthy fisheries. Hopefully, this legislation also prioritizes small-scale, independent, community-based fisheries over industrial operations, including destructive, large-scale aquaculture operations, while also providing more fair access to fish stocks to a broader demographic. We shall see.

Here is a link to a one pager on the bill.
Here is a link to the entire bill's text.

 
Fascinating Fish of the Month
Abominable snowman of the ocean? Yeti crabs live in hydrothermal vent ecosystems and grow their own food?! Photo: A. Fifis, Ifremer/ChEss, Census of Marine Life
Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta)

Size: ~15 cm long
Habitat: Deep-sea hydrothermal vents 
Good at: Farming
Bad at: Trying out new hairstyles


Discovered in 2005 during the Census of Marine Life Project, the yeti crab is not only a new species, but a new genus. Scientists speculate that the hairy legs aren’t meant to catch food, bur rather to grow it! The hairs create a habitat where filamentous bacteria thrive, and scientists believe the crabs cultivate the bacteria by holding their arms over hydrothermal vents
 
Sustainable Seafood Recipes
Indian Spiced Pollock and Charred Onion Flatbreads from our friends at Real Good Fish
Indian Spiced Pollock and Charred Onion Flatbreads
Real Good Fish

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt plus some to serve
  • 1 tbsp hot curry paste
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pollock fillets cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut into chunky slices
  • 2 pieces of naan bread
  • A squeeze of lemon juice to serve
  • Fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Directions
Mix the yogurt, curry paste, and mango chutney together with a dash of olive oil and season with ground black pepper. 

Transfer the fish pieces to the marinade to coat thoroughly and leave to marinate for at least five minutes

Pour some olive oil into a pan, bring it to a low-to-medium heat and fry the onions, stirring for a couple of minutes until starting to char and brown. Remove from the pan. 

Return the pan to the heat and once hot, place the marinated pollock pieces into the pan and let them cook until slightly charred on one side (1-2 minutes), then turn them over and cook on the other side keeping an eye on them -- if they begin to get too hot, take the pan off the heat. 

Warm the naan bread as per the instructions on the package. 

Divide the onions between the two pieces of naan bread, top with pollock and some more greek yogurt, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice. Scatter some fresh coriander leaves over the top and serve with mango chutney. 

 
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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.

And as always, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact us!

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