Seasons are changing and we are starting to see some spring run fish!  Spring officially starts March 20th.  Lent is the whole month of March, a great time to offer additional seafood on the menu.  The month ends with National Clam on a Half Shell Day, March 31!

Wild Striped Bass are running and available at a great price!  Wild Striped Bass migrate North in the spring from Chesapeake Bay, we have been seeing nice large 8#+ fish.  The Chesapeake fishery has all sizes of Stripers, many in the 5-10# range, but also 10#+ fish are common as well.  We will try to keep a steady flow of the larger fish moving forward but the fishery can be a volatile as each fisherman has a limited amount of tags used to keep Striped Bass. If you receive a whole Striped Bass make sure to notice the tag thru the bottom jaw of the fish. These tags are used to restrict fisherman from over-harvesting the resource, and allows fisheries managers to keep accurate records of the size and location of each catch.

Walleye Season has begun on the Great Lakes, and we just received our first shipment of the year! We bring walleye in both whole and precut fillet.  These fish are available fresh during the spring and as water temperatures warm become unavailable, so get them while you can!

Baja Mexico gets an annual run of Corvina Seabass that has just started.  These fish are 5-7# head on, and are available H&G, skin On fillet, or skin off fillet.  Baja Corvina are low in cost, and a great way to offer Seabass on the menu without having to break the bank.  The fish run for about a month, and then it completely shuts down without warning.

Gulf of Mexico fishery in addition to Snapper and Grouper, fisherman have been catching Golden Tilefish.  Please let us know if you are interested in having us bring in some Golden Tilefish.

Halibut Season opens on March 11th and Closes November 7th.  As boats come back from the opening day, consider Friday the 17th as a good starting day for Denver to receive fresh Alaskan Halibut. The International Pacific Halibut Commission has set the regulations for 2017 with a total allowable catch of 31,400,000.  This is an increase to a catch limit close to numbers that haven’t been seen since 2013.  These total numbers are an aggregate of 8 different regulated regions that include B.C. Canada. So, if you are looking for exact location of catch for Alaskan Halibut, it is difficult because it can be from any of these 8 regions that are heavily regulated for sustainability. The largest catches will be coming from region 3A, from Kodiak Island to the boarder of British Columbia. 3A also offers the most direct route of fresh Halibut, off-loaded at Anchorage and flown to Colorado.

Scallop quotas are reset in March and hopefully we see some relief on our wild New Bedford, Massachusetts scallop prices.

Wild Salmon Season Starts Mid-May with the first harvest of the year at Copper River.  The exact opening day is determined in the beginning of May, but forecasts are in. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released a Copper River forecast for 2017 that anticipates a king salmon run that would tie 2016 as the smallest since 1980. According to ADFG, the 2017 chinook, or king, salmon total run forecast of 29,000 is about 34,000 less than the 18-year average total run size of 63,000. The forecast for 29,000 king salmon returning to the Copper River is barely more than the minimum escapement goal of 24,000. After accounting for sport and subsistence harvest, that would allow for a commercial harvest of just 3,500 of the species that kicks off the salmon season in Cordova, AK. With such a small supply, prices are likely to rise. Copper River Sockeye salmon, the region’s largest commercial harvest, didn’t escape the downturn either. ADFG forecasts 1.5 million sockeye to return to Copper River, the third-lowest in the last 20 years.

Before wild salmon season gets underway, try some of our sustainably farmed salmon!  March marks the 1 year anniversary of the Chilean Salmon red algae bloom that decimated Chilean farmed salmon populations.  We have been told that this is a natural phenomenon, but it is also probable for farmed fish waste and feed to act as a nutrient loading fertilizer for wild environments. The increased nutrients from ocean farming can create a bloom of plant matter that if not flushed from an area will eventually die and create an unhealthy oxygen deprived environment.  Ocean farms normally practice fallowing, which includes resting a farm site, or moving farming operations to another area to disperse the waste to mitigate this risk.  Some farms are also in areas of heavy current, or out in deep water environments to disperse the waste – but there is another option, and we have it available!

We are now offering Sapphire Salmon from Denmark.  These are land farmed salmon in giant saltwater tanks.  The benefit of keeping fish out of the ocean is that the salmons’ environment can be 100% monitored and controlled for the optimal growth of the fish. Having a controlled environment allows for a completely parasite free environment, with swimming currents to keep fish healthy, temperature control for optimal feeding, and clean water that is constantly filtered and reused. The waste that normally pollutes ocean environments is filtered from the fishes’ environment.  Sapphire salmon is rated Best Choice by Monterey Bay Seafood Watch.

Chad Pettrone
Sustainability Director
Northeast Seafood