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Owned by a billionaire Dutch family, Blue Harvest Fisheries has emerged as a dominant force in the lucrative fishing port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Its business model: benefit from lax antitrust rules and pass costs on to local fishermen.

Quote from a ProPublica report on how private equity firms, consolidation, and catch shares disadvantage and effectively squeeze out  independent fish harvesters in New Bedford and elsewhere.

Jennifer Halstead explains the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish during a class in 2018.

Relationships and timing matter. In June of 2017, I visited the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island off the New Hampshire coast to speak with college students about the cross-section of market dynamics, climate change and marine policy on seafood supply chains. A couple of weeks later, I received an email from a student who was interested in an internship. Since then, Jennifer Halstead has played an essential role in One Fish Foundation's growth and evolution. She helped shape the newsletter and the new website (coming soon!), and was the tech guru behind many One Fish podcasts and videos and Slow Fish webinars, and virtual gatherings. She's a respected voice on the Slow Fish Oversight Team and is now a full-time Community Organizer doing great work with the North American Marine Alliance. It has been so rewarding to watch her grow into these roles and make an impact on our collective effort to uplift community-based fisheries! Jennifer's dedication to One Fish Foundation continues, and she will remain in an advisory support role.

Her transition to full-time work with NAMA has paved the way for Malia Guyer-Stevens, who applied for the One Fish Foundation Communications Coordinator job posted in April. We had worked with Malia in 2021 when she was an intern with Slow Food USA helping with communications activities in support of the Slow Fish Virtual gathering. Malia also brings great skills and passion for local, sustainable food systems to the role (see below news item to get to know her more.)

Also in this newsletter, we share a link to our comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of protections for Bristol Bay. The comment period on EPA's draft ruling to stop Pebble Mine has been extended to September 6, so get your comments in now if you haven't already! Also, there's an update on the legal battle involving North Atlantic right whales and the lobster industry, and a link to an in-depth
exposé on the effect that consolidation and private equity has on the New England groundfishery. We also share a GoFundMe link to a cool project providing salmon to Western Alaska villages suffering from non-existent salmon runs. Plus, Green crab whiskey, Fishmageddon, and the disco-lighted Glass Octopus. And get ready for summertime grilled mackerel. Enjoy!
One Fish Foundation News
July 2022
Gin-clear pond near Contact Creek in the Bristol Bay watershed
OFF Comment to the EPA: Back Bristol Bay!

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline to submit public comment on its draft ruling that would permanently protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from the proposed Pebble Mine until September 6.

While this will allow more time for more people from around the world to weigh in, it also could play into the mine’s owners’ hands by delaying the process. So it’s important to back Bristol Bay now and call on the EPA to do its job and finalize Clean Water Act Section 404(c) protections for for the region that supports the world’s largest wild salmon fishery. If toxic mining were allowed to proceed in such an ecologically, culturally, and economically vital watershed, the consequences elsewhere in the U.S. could be disastrous.

Read our full testimony on our blog, which was submitted on behalf of One Fish Foundation, Slow Fish North America, and Slow Food USA to the EPA website about why this matters. I provided a shorter oral version of this during a virtual listening session on June 16. Here's a link to a Slow Fish/Slow Food sign-on letter telling EPA to close the door on Pebble now.

Meet Malia, One Fish Foundation's Communications Coordinator!

Please join me in welcoming Malia Guyer-Stevens as One Fish Foundation's Communications Coordinator! She will be directing everything from this newsletter, to a more consistent social media presence, some blog writing, website content, and other important communications. I first met her over a year ago as she was interning with Slow Food USA and helping produce blogs and other communications in connection with the Slow Fish North America 2021 Virtual Gathering. She brings a wealth of communications, editing, writing, and web design experience having worked with Slow Food USA, Slow Food East End, New York University, Edible Queens, and Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park. She's also a  graduate student at Simmons University working toward her Master's degree in Library Information Systems with a focus on Archive Management. And she's passionate about sustainable seafood. So look forward to hearing more from Malia!

On community and sustainable seafood
A chilly, rainy Juneteenth proved to be a great setting for spreading the word about local, responsibly harvested seafood via gumbo, or in this case, GOMbo, at the Farm-A-Q  event in Seacoast New Hampshire. This year's event focused on showcasing local, culturally rich foods via a partnership between local chefs and the  Business Alliance for People of Color, ICC - Indonesian Community Connect, Inc, and Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People. Many of the dishes served at the event stemmed from traditional recipes and heirloom produce. Most everything in the gumbo was locally sourced. As I told folks who stopped by for a bowl, the definition of "local" has evolved to mean more about relationships and less about geography. The recipe was gifted to me by Rose Dell Howard, the woman who took care of me when both of my parents were working during my childhood in New Orleans. And though I've adapted the recipe over the decades, I always pay homage to her every time I make it. Know the story of your seafood!
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 the Slow Fish/Slow Food sign-on letter telling EPA to finalize Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay and close the door on the Pebble Mine forever. Deadline has been extended to September 6.
  • Visit the Stop Pebble Mine Now action page with info on the work still to do to ensure EPA finalizes its protection of Bristol Bay.
  • Watch friend and colleague Mark Titus' excellent documentaries about wild salmon and Bristol Bay, "The Breach" and "The Wild" for free on Youtube, and check out some of the cool content and action items he provides via this web page.
Support program to bring salmon to AK villages that won't have enough to eat
  • Check out the Fish for Families GoFundMe page to help feed families reeling from depleted or non-existent salmon runs due to climate change.
Sign on letter calling for a stop to Canadian mining near salmon rivers
  • Add your name to the 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
 Help #BlockCorporateSalmon
Sustainable Seafood News
Here's what you need to be hearing about, thinking about, and why.
North Atlantic Right Whale, photo: NOAA Fisheries
Judge rules feds failing to protect right whales, orders remedies
A federal judge ruled on July 8 that the National Marine Fisheries Service is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to protect North Atlantic Right Whales from potential entanglements in fishing gear. The judge ordered both sides of the case, including environmentalists, as well as fishermen and regulators to propose effective remedies that don't violate the ESA and protect whales. But there's the rub. As Stonington Lobsterman Genevieve McDonald told me in an interview last spring for a story in Edible Maine, the ESA is so rigid that it doesn't allow for the vagaries that come with protecting a highly migratory and elusive species like right whales. Maine lobstermen argue they're being unfairly burdened with most of the responsibility to remedy the ESA protections for right whales because only one right whale has been definitively entangled in Maine lobster gear ... in 2004 ... and that whale lived. Whale advocates argue any entanglement is too many given the low number (about 350) of right whales left. And so the political and legal quagmire continues. Sadly, it looks like both the whales and lobstermen will suffer without more funding and research to better identify when and where the whales are in real time, and develop a more collaborative solution.

Here's a link to an article that explains the challenges of fully understanding the right whale population's overall health.

North Pacific Right Whales are even more endangered than their North Atlantic cousins. They're estimated population is around 30. Here is a link to a story about a push to expand protected right whale habitat areas off the coast of Alaska, some of which fall in productive fishing grounds.

Foreign investment's impact on New England fisheries
An in-depth exposé in ProPublica documents the many tendrils of influence that powerful foreign investors have in the New England groundfishery. In a short period of time, Bregal Partners, a private equity firm owned by a billionaire Dutch family, took control of an outsized share (nearly 15% or more) of the fishery, and in so doing, pulled the fishermen that work for the company into a quasi feudal system where they are often paid less than other fishermen, but are also forced to pay for several expenses other fishing companies cover for their fishermen. This industry shift continues in large part because of catch shares, a federal fishery management system that provides access to certain fisheries based on costly permits that are increasingly only affordable to big corporations and private equity firms. This is the same system that enabled Carlos Rafael, aka the "Codfather" to rise to power, vertically integrate harvest, processing, and distribution and dominate the groundfishery in New Bedford, MA. Now, Bregal Partners has consolidated that power using the same blueprint as Rafael (who was forced to serve 46 months in prison for a raft of fraud and other charges), and are systematically forcing small-scale, independent fishermen out of the New England groundfishery. This is what happens when industrialization and investment capital interfere with local supply chains.

Lobbyists urge Biden to drop tariffs on Chinese seafood imports
In what has become a pattern, two industry lobby groups, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), are again pushing the administration to drop tariffs on cheap Chinese seafood imports. These lobbyists claim doing so will protect U.S. seafood import businesses and provide cheaper seafood to consumers. However, it's particularly head-scratching that these lobby groups would advocate for cheap, sometimes unhealthy seafood at the expense of U.S. seafood harvesters (who often struggle to compete with lower-priced imports) and consumers, (who are often unaware of the social, economic, and health threats posed by cheap imports). This is yet another example of how money and influence affect our food supply chains. That said, some communities are pushing back. A recent Louisiana law mandating all restaurants label imported shrimp and crawfish to ensure customers know what's on the menu levels the market playing field for shrimpers and crawfish harvesters in the state. Once again, the message is to know your seafood and where it comes from!

photo: Fish for Families
Program feeds Alaska villages reeling from empty salmon runs
Climate change has again left many Western Alaskan communities along some historic salmon rivers without enough salmon to sustain them through the year. Fish for Families aims to address these immediate challenges while also working to address climate change and build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable (sea)food system for the long-term. The project's goal is to provide salmon from Bristol Bay, where returns are record strong, to Western Alaska families in need.  Every $24 donated delivers a salmon to a family in need;  every $20,000 raised provides 2,500 pounds of salmon to a community.  Our first 1,000 lbs of salmon shipped June 29th and will be distributed in Chignik Alaska, where the Chigniks are struggling to maintain community after four years of poor salmon returns. Here's a link to support the effort.

photo: NOAA
Canadian government limits net pen salmon farming in B.C. waters
The Canadian government recently announced a limited two-year extension (instead of the typical six-year extension) of net pen salmon farming in British Columbia waters. The decision indicates the government's concern over the risks that open-net pens pose to wild salmon. In a story by The Narwhal, Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Joyce Murray says that cutting the license renewal period down "reflects the urgent concerns about the risks to wild salmon" and moves the government toward the goal of transitioning farms out of the open water. While it would have been better to outright reject the the license renewal, we hope Canada stays on track to remove those net pens from open water in two years. 
Green Crab whiskey? 
You read that right. Tamworth (N.H.) Distillery has come up with a novel way to fight the invasive pests that are devastating clam, mussel, and oyster populations and coastal habitats. They make crab stock, add some spices like cinnamon, coriander and mustard seed, and combine it with a bourbon base. The result is the Crab Trapper Whiskey. The distillers know this won't really cut into the burgeoning green crab population, but they hope it might help raise awareness of the problem. I'm game to try it.
Fishmageddon? Anchovies wash ashore and fall from sky in Calif.
San Francisco residents wouldn't be faulted for wondering what new plague had arrived in June when they noticed millions of dead anchovies washing ashore and some even falling from the sky. Scientists however say they have logical explanations for both. Anchovies have historically experienced boom and bust cycles, and since the marine heat wave somewhat abated off the California coast in 2016, the anchovy population has definitely exploded. Those that washed ashore last month likely were chased by predators, including humpback whales. Those that rained from the sky were likely dropped by seabirds like seagulls that dropped them on the way back to their nests to feed their young. They might also have been plundered by other birds trying to steal another's dinner in flight. Imagine walking along a San Francisco street and being bonked on the head by an anchovy. How's that for "locally sourced" seafood?
Fascinating Fish of the Month
Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute
Glass Octopus (Vitreledonella richardi)

Size: up to 1.5 feet long
Habitat: Tropical and subtropical waters, 3,000 feet below the surface 
Good at: Playing hide-and-seek

The Glass Octopus is rarely seen not only because of its translucent and luminescent body, but also because it lives almost 1,000 meters below the ocean's surface. One of the least studied cephalopods, it can only be spotted by its optic nerve, eyeballs, and digestive tract that can be seen through its translucent body! Until recently, scientists had mostly come across signs of them in the guts of their predators. Check out this incredible footage of them from a recent expedition by the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Sustainable Seafood Recipe
Grilled mackerel is such a summertime dish. And it's a widely abundant and available species. This month's recipe comes to us from former One Fish Foundation board member Chef Duncan Boyd, who has run several fine-dining restaurants along the Atlantic Coast, and now provides consulting services for restaurant operations.
Grilled lemon/cumin mackerel with summer white bean salad
  • 4 skin-on mackerel fillets (4-5 oz. each)
  • 2 15 ounce cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pitted dry cured black olives, halved
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves (torn at last moment)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 bunch fresh arugula leaves (washed)
the fish:
  1. Combine 1/4 cup EVOO, 1/2 of lemon juice and cumin
  2. Mix well and brush over flesh side of fillets, season with salt and refrigerate
the salad: 
  1. Slice the fennel and red onion thinly as possible and toss well with remaining lemon juice and red pepper flakes
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes
  3. Add beans, olives, cherry tomatoes, remaining EVOO, season with salt and pepper
  4. Toss well and set aside at ROOM TEMP
the dinner:
  1. Place fillets skin side down on a medium hot grill and cook 3-5 minutes
  2. Flip fillets cook 1-2 minutes to taste
  3. Divide arugula leaves on to 4 plates
  4. Tear basil leaves into salad, toss well and place a big scoop onto greens
  5. Top with fillets
Grilled zucchini and sweet peppers make an excellent addition on the side as does some good crusty bread.
Refrigerate remaining salad. It's really good the next day.
Donate to One Fish Foundation

We are a small non-profit with big impact. Every dollar goes toward classroom and community education, engagement, and participation as we change our eating habits and the domestic seafood supply chain, one conversation at a time. Your donation helps us grow the community of those who care about where their seafood comes from, the people who harvest it, and protecting the resource we all depend on. One Fish Foundation is a 501(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

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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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