Not only have the summer months brought openings in the seafood market (see wild salmon and lake fish below) but the recent temperatures are pretty much begging you to get outside and do some grilling.  Pictured above is a farmed Salmon fillet from the Faroe Islands.  When people think eating healthy, they are immediately drawn to salmon because it’s packed with omega 3’s and protein.  However, keep an open mind this summer.  Using less popular fish is great for species preservation and sustainability, not to mention easy to cook and great tasting!  Stay tuned for our more in-depth guide to grilling some of our favorite fish and seafood.  Here is our market guide to kick off the summer months!

  • Farmed Salmon:  Prices from Chile are softening slightly and should continue to drop for the next few weeks before stabilizing for the remainder of the summer. European Salmon prices are currently high, but also should drop slightly and then stabilize for the summer. Alternatively, 60 South and Verlasso pricing should be stable through the period.
  • Wild Salmon: The Copper River season has been very poor to date and many areas scheduled to open June 1st & 4th have been cancelled or pushed back. We expect the Sockeye run to start soon but have not really seen much if any landings to speak of to date. Once the run gets going supply should be good through July.
  • Cod:  Iceland had a Fishermen’s holiday over the weekend that slowed the supply of Cod but it should be back to normal quickly. Supply of all Icelandic Cod should be good and stable all summer.
  • Lake Fish: Walleye fishing has been very good this early season and is expected to be strong through July. Again, most of the catch, 75% at least is Medium sized Walleye. This will be the trend through next year. Yellow Perch landings have been very strong in May and is expected to be good through June. The water temperature is slowly rising and this will cause the fish to move to deeper colder waters. Usually we are seeing this happen by now but this year fish movement is late. This might give us more mid-summer fish usual but only time will tell. White Bass is slowing down as usual this time of year. Expect White Bass production to be hit or miss through the summer.
  • Halibut:  Both coasts are producing very nice Halibut now. Great quality product is being landing by both. Expect Alaska to slow production as wild salmon season strengthens. Many fishermen hold quota for both species but Salmon needs to be fished when they’re there and now is the time. Halibut season goes until November, so they will go back to it when the Salmon run ends. Atlantic fish will be available all summer but pricing will be slightly stronger than current numbers.
  • Soft Crabs:  Season is in full swing right now. The run will have ups and downs through the next 6 weeks. But for the most part soft crabs will be available through July and into early August.


Environmental Stewardship

Catanese Classic Seafood supports fisheries that demonstrate responsible stewardship of their representative species.  We support aquaculture suppliers and wild species fishermen that engage in environmentally sound practices regarding their farming and fishing methods.

‘Hook to Cook’ Event at Catanese Classic Seafood

Media Credit: Debbi Snook, The Plain Dealer

All that was missing was the scent of sea salt in the air as dozens of chefs, restaurant owners and grocery buyers gathered Tuesday night for a sustainable seafood program sponsored by Catanese Classic Seafood, one of Northeast Ohio’s largest fish vendors.

It was, as one speaker said, “a hook-to-cook” event.Sheila Bowman of Seafood Watch, an environmental ratings system sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, set the stage with some dire statistics.

“Cod, swordfish, shark, grouper and salmon – they’ve all been center-of-the-plate proteins in restaurants,” she said. Yet, we’ve taken 80 percent of these “large table-fish” out of the ocean. The buyers guide from Seafood Watch takes a look at which fish are scarce, which are taken or grown in destructive ways. Then it makes recommendations on what to buy and what not to buy. The guide has been available for years, but Bowman now heads a 20-person outreach staff designed to educate all levels of the influential food industry.

Bowman said overfishing reached its peak in the early 1990s. World War II had given the industry sonar and other equipment to find and catch fish. The harvests were huge. By 1992, the global fish population crashed. “And we haven’t seen a re-bound,” she said, “not even with more boats and better equipment.”

Pressures on the remaining fish populations and their habitats are being threatened by human population growth, she said. The industrialization of China and India has made it possible for fish to be transported to the center of those large countries, where there are many more mouths to feed.

“Other countries around the world don’t think about this like we do,” she said. Today, she said, only 9 percent of the fish we eat is caught in American waters, and 50 percent of fish eaten globally is farmed.

“We cannot all eat salmon, shrimp and tuna,” she said, encouraging chefs to try new varieties and “know the story of your favorite fish.” She gave Lake Erie perch, protected by quotas, a thumbs-up.

“There’s nothing better than a sustainable fish from your own region. . . If we all take a step in the right direction, it can have a pretty big impact.”

Jason Delacruz, fishing company owner and partner with My Gulf Wild, a New Orleans non-profit exploring the health of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, talked about contemporary fishing practices there. His company tags fish as they are caught, so the buyer can know its origin.

“A lot of restaurants have no idea what they’re getting,” he said, recalling a genetic test in Louisiana showing that 1/3 of the grouper sold in participating restaurants was not grouper at all. His crew signs contracts to carry out the tagging honestly, and he has installed cameras in several of his boats to monitor the processing.

Julie Watson, program director for My Gulf Wild, said she’s now staging cook-offs for chefs using lesser known fish. A similar event was held in Cleveland last week, with Doug Katz of Fire Food and Drink and Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern collaborating on a “Trash Fish Dinner.”

Last up, Jason Mosley profiled his company, Verlasso, the only farm-raised ocean salmon company to be recommended by Seafood Watch. They received a “good alternative” rating, just below “best choice.”

Mosley said Verlasso got the rating in part because of its policy not to kill wildlife preying on salmon farms it runs on the coast of Chile; for not using hormones; giving fish more room to live, and for leaving farmed areas fallow for at least three months after harvest to let the ocean floor rebuild. They also use 75 percent less wild fish to feed the salmon, supplementing instead with yeasts containing Omega 3 fatty acids. It ordinarily takes 4-5 pounds of fish feed to raise a pound of salmon, he said.

“We’ve been in the market three years and we’ve saved six million pounds of feeder fish.” The brand is carried at Heinen’s supermarkets, which spearheaded the launch here. Each speaker got a warm reception.

Mike Singer, buyer for Buehler’s supermarkets, said the issue of fish sustainability is increasingly on the mind of his customers.

Dick Kanatzar, chef at Vaccaro’s Trattoria in Akron, said he’s been surprised at the wide range of fish considered sustainable. He likes the idea of fish being tagged.

“As chefs, we know how food should taste,” he said. “We don’t always know its carbon footprint.”

He’s tried Verlasso and liked it, and so have his customers. The price of Faroe Island salmon from the North Atlantic is equivalent, but he sees a big difference in environmental methods.

“It’s a no-brainer,” he said.