The snow piles are creating tiny mountain ranges, turning sidewalks into slick valleys that we must navigate cautiously, that’s if we dare leave our bunkers. The freezing temps seem to slow everything down a notch, and even the pace of these last few January days are dragging. But fear not, February marks another step closer to the sunshine and thaw, and like the latest news from the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) Global Seafood Conference, you’ve got to take the good with the bad.
The NFI’s annual conference was held a couple of weeks ago in sunny San Diego and, as usual, the breakout panels offered vital insight and critical analyses of what’s trending in the seafood industry.
The Salmon panel painted a troublesome picture for next year’s Wild Salmon supply. Pinks, Cohos, Ketas, and Kings could all see further reduced harvests in Alaska with warming water temperatures thought to be the main culprit. This does not bode well, since last year’s harvest was already down from previous years. The Sockeye stock seems to be the only one that will remain stable, and it’s no wonder that the trend of this species being the most recognized in the retail sphere will likely continue. In order to fill the void, Atlantic Salmon farmers are becoming more innovative in order to produce more fish. Emerging trends include land-based aqua farming, offshore farming and genetic modification in order to increase the world’s supply of salmon to meet growing demand.
The story in the Shellfish panel was a crabby one, due to the fledging Snow Crab and Red King Crab forecasts. The Snow Crab supply has been short for a couple of years now, and unfortunately this trend will continue in 2019. To add insult, it looks as though there might not even be a Red King Crab season in Alaska this year, putting another dent in an already banged-up supply. Most customers are looking to other crab species and Lobsters to fill the void. This has kept Lobster prices stable. We are also exporting more Lobster to Canada now, so don’t expect Lobster pricing to fall too precipitously, even in the face of solid harvests. On a brighter note, the forecasted Snow Crab biomass is expected to rebound 3 years from now, meaning there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
On the flip-side, 2018 saw Scallop harvests come through with big numbers, putting more product into the market than in recent years. Luckily, this trend will continue into 2019. Another banner year is expected from US Scallop fisheries, making this item a viable menu feature going forward. 2018 saw Scallops make their way back unto a lot of menus, it looks like they are here to stay in 2019.
How do we get more people to eat more seafood? This was a question that you could feel looming behind every discussion in every panel. Kind of an underlying current that stirred every attendee, and often prompted insightful conversation. There isn’t one answer to this question, but many. We have to not only sell seafood, but we also have to sell the story. Promote companies like Copper Shoals, Open Blue, Verlasso, and Australis who are growing healthy fish the right way. We have to re-introduce our customers to our Wild Stocks and the diligent management that takes place in order to ensure species’ livelihoods for generations to come. We need to be better stewards of each species regarding their utilization and waste. Each fish is a puzzle, created by nature. Not every cut is a prime cut, but every cut has its own unique flavor and attribute. Respecting and showcasing the entire fish is integral to unwrapping it’s true value. Seafood can’t beat land-based proteins in a race to the bottom-line, but it can offer value in regards to a cleaner environment, a healthier llifestyle, and a brighter future.
If the question is how to get people to eat more seafood, one answer is to make it easier for them to prepare great tasting dishes. Whether you want to season as you cook, or marinade your seafood, Fortune has a large variety of offerings including products from Ashman Manufacturing Co. and Rub with Love.
Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Ashman Manufacturing Co. has been making marinades, sauces, and seasonings since 1987. If you are looking to season your fish and seafood quickly, Ashman offers everything from a quick Scandinavian Salmon Rub or Smoky BBQ Fish Rub, to a Bayou Blackening Spice or Yin Yang Seafood Sprinkle. They have almost every cuisine covered to keep your taste buds happy, without sweating over looking for every single ingredient needed. On the occasion that you can plan your meal ahead, Ashman has numerous sauces that can double as marinades. Their Bourbon Teriyaki is their best seller for meatier fish, but they also have a Shrimp Scampi sauce, Mango Key Lime, Tuna Citrus Herb, and many other flavors available.
Hailing from the West Coast, in Seattle, WA, Rub With Love was created by Tom Douglas, in response to countless requests for his secret ingredient in Etta’s Spice Rubbed Salmon. His original Salmon Rub lends a sweet smoky flavor to fish but is versatile with pork or chicken. For the curry lovers, his Seafood Rub combines brown sugar with cumin, cinnamon, ancho, turmeric, and a dozen other spices to create a mild curry flavor, that is great with scallops, whitefish, lobster, or shrimp.