Seafood Current Archive – Issue 8

Town Dock
town-dock-logoIt was 1965 when Noah Clark first started cutting fish in a local Point Judith Rhode Island fish house. In 1980, Noah opened Town Dock in Warwick, Rhode Island. Since then, after many changes, Town Dock has become the leader in the squid industry in the USA. Catanese Classic Seafood is proud to partner with the fine folks at Town Dock. The direct information and relationship we have developed with Noah’s staff, primarily Aaron J. Ferri, has been extremely valuable helping us make sound decisions to provide proper direction to our valued customers. Town Dock offers multiple lines of product to suit the needs of many customers.

First and foremost is the flagship of the fleet, domestic Rhode Island Loligo squid. The American Loligo has been considered the highest quality squid in the world. Having full control of the operation from the boat to the processing floor to the distributor, with the finest squid in the world, produces the top product on the market.

The second tier, so to speak, is the imported Asian Loligo squid Town Dock calls Green Line. This is the same species as the US-Atlantic species. The fish and processing takes place in Asian waters. Town Dock has representatives on staff working with the fishing fleet in Asia and the processing plants as well. This gives them more control than the competitors. We feel this Asian Loligo squid is a great price friendly option of Loligo.

The third option is a squid produced in China and also caught in Asian waters. It is the species called Todarodes. This is a budget line of squid that works well for many customers.

The market conditions currently have dictated some changes. US production has struggled all year coming off the two toughest winters in recent memory. Production has not improved enough to have full availability. Town Dock is rationing USA Rhode Island Loligo to its best customers and we at Catanese Classic Seafood are happy to be in the mix. I believe our supply is currently in good shape on US product. The cost is up on the US produced squid but it is very relative as squid is one of the most reasonably price seafood items on the market today. But if the slight increase is too much for some customers we recommend the Green Line as it is stable in cost currently. As always, we strive to keep everybody in supply on the exact squid that meets their needs.

Wild Caught Octopus – Fremantle Octopus Hands
Another species that has mystery and confusion surrounding it is octopus. Only a handful of octopus fisheries have been assessed by MSC or MBA. Most are fished by divers with little or no habitat damage or by-catch issues. One of the fisheries not yet assessed by either MSC or Monterey Bay is the Fremantle Octopus fishery in Western Australia. In 2000, the Fremantle Octopus fishery commenced with fishermen focused on creating a sustainable octopus fishery. This fishery should get favorable grades from the fishery assessment groups. The item Catanese Classic Seafood is promoting currently is the Fremantle Octopus Hands. This product is comprised of only the “hands” or arms of the octopus. Most octopus is sold as whole octopus. Although there are uses for the heads and other parts of the octopus most use only the arms. The cost is higher on the Fremantle Octopus hands, but the yield and labor time to prepare the octopus into the form that Fremantle Octopus Hands comes out of the package more than makes up for it. No waste no extra labor, just prepare and enjoy.

For those that want the whole octopus, we offer a variety of sizes from 2 to 4# all the way to 8# and up. We offer a high quality octopus from the Philippines. This octopus unfortunately carries a Red list rating from Monterey Bay. The rating doesn’t reflect on the fishery itself as Monterey Bay’s assessment of the fishery found octopus populations were very good and fishing methods were also sound. Octopus is caught by divers in 150 to 300 feet of water. By-catch is almost non-existent and habitat destruction very minimal. Everything about this fishery assessment was good enough to land it on either the Yellow or Green list. So why is it on the Red list? It is due to the Philippine government’s lack of fishery management policies. Hopefully the Philippine government will make management of their great resource a priority sometime soon. The fishery seems to be managed well by its fishermen but that’s not a sustainable future as it leaves open chances for abuse without repercussions. We do not support the Philippine government’s lack of fishery management policy but do support fishermen that have taken control of properly managing a fishery that their livelihood is dependent upon.

Looking for fresh whole octopus? With a little planning and pre-order we can usually procure whole fresh octopus from US waters.

Market Update
Lake Fish: Walleye
With the mild weather we are experiencing Walleye fishing continues. It will slow this coming week and end just before Christmas. Now if the weather continues its mild trend the fishermen are able to fish between Christmas and New Years’ using next year’s quota. Most will not opt to do this but we might see an boat or two make that call. we will have previously frozen Walleye fillet to offer for New Years’ business if no fishing takes place.
White Bass and Lake Whitefish also continue to land and expect White Bass to end also by Christmas week. we should see Lake Whitefish through the New Years’ holiday.

Stone Crab
This is shaping up to be a banner year for Stone Crab Claws. The fishing is stronger than anybody has seen for many years. Maybe as many as 20 years. The catch has been predominately Large crabs producing Large (4-6ct) and Jumbo (2-4ct) claws. The fishermen are putting many under sized crabs back into the water as well. This is a good sign for the health of the fishery. Monterey Bay Aquarium has graced the US Stone Crab Fishery with a Green Best Choice label. The season will be open until May 15th. take advantage of this delicacy while it’s available.

Tuna
Tuna is a global market. Issues with the Japanese Yen is holding Tuna prices down. Tuna catch is not up but less Tuna is being bought and shipped to Japan the worlds’ biggest Tuna user. This leaves more Tuna being shipped to the US market. This increase in supply is keeping Tuna prices very attractive. Expect this trend to keep up through the holidays and into early January. Be cautious though as bad weather issues and actual landings could affect the market.