Seafood News
The Risks of Eating Farmed Salmon

The Risks of Eating Farmed Salmon

posted January 26, 2009 on by Jo Hartley

Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for healthy people and those who may have or be at risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent evidence, however, has shown that one must be careful about how and where omega-3 fatty acids come from and how they are added to one�s diet. Natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids are best and one of the best sources is salmon. Recent studies have concluded that not all salmon is equal, however. When choosing between wild and farm-raised salmon, the healthiest choice is wild salmon because of many of the practices utilized when raising farmed salmon.

Everyone can benefit from adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diets. It is not recommended that more than three grams of omega -3 fatty acids be taken each day unless under a physician�s supervision. This is because excessive bleeding can happen in some people over time if more than three grams of omega-3 fatty acids are taken per day. Interestingly, high dosages of synthetic omega-3 fatty acids can be dangerous, but consuming omega-3 fatty acids naturally through diet within the recommended range is beneficial for one�s health.

When the body has an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids at its disposal, heart attacks can be effectively stopped while still in the arrhythmia stage.

Salmon is a delicious and effective source of omega-3 fatty acids. Wild salmon is a great brain food that can naturally replenish the essential fatty acids the body requires for optimal health. Other seafood carries an inherent risk of mercury poisoning, but wild salmon appears to contain minimal amounts of mercury.

The best kind of salmon is wild salmon from Alaskan waters. This salmon is purported to be one of the purest ocean species of fish. The ocean waters are remote in this area of the world. The environment there is pure and clean compared to the environments that other species of salmon live in. The salmon from Alaskan waters also have a comparatively shorter life span and, therefore, much fewer contaminants in their bodies than the larger types of ocean fish that have longer life spans.

Farm-raised salmon have been found to have much higher levels of PCBs, dioxin, and other toxic cancer-causing chemicals than wild salmon, according to a recent study. Salmon raised in farms in Northern Europe had the highest contaminant levels. This was followed by salmon raised in North America and Chile. The reason for the higher toxin levels is thought to be because of the feed used in fish farms. Farm-raised salmon also have more antibiotics administered by weight compared to any other kind of livestock. In addition, farm raised salmon do not have the same omega 3:6 profile as wild salmon. Farm-raised fish contain considerably higher levels of omega 6 fatty acids.

Eating more than one meal of farm-raised salmon per month (depending on where it is from) may increase one`s risk of developing cancer in the future due to the increased levels of chemicals and antibiotics.

In addition to this, some Canadian salmon farmers are now being criticized for producing flabby and sloppy fish. The texture of this farmed fish is thought to be a result of adding fish oil to the salmon feed in order to increase the weight of the salmon. The salmon farmer`s goal is to fatten the salmon quickly and make them heavier. This is accomplished by feeding them a high fat diet. A result of this diet, however, is that the texture of the fish meat becomes much softer in texture and consumers have noticed a difference.

Wild Pacific Salmon Explained

Wild Pacific Salmon Explained

posted April 01, 2009 on by Kirk Patrick While most consumers have learned that wild Salmon is preferable to farm-raised, there are many other variables to consider. Even after ruling out Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead Trout, there are still 5 species of Pacific Salmon and each go by several names. Additional factors such as environment, fat content, and processing can make all the difference between top shelf and bottom of the barrel Salmon. This article will summarize the key parameters involved in locating the finest of the family Salmonidae. With seafood in general, higher fat content is highly beneficial (yes!) because fattier fish can survive being frozen and thawed without becoming mushy. While certain types of Salmon rank among the fattiest of all fish, don't worry: it is the "good" fat. Along with offering half the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A and Vitamin D in a single serving, the oil in Salmon features two otherwise rare compounds known to offer highly protective cardiovascular and neurological benefits: E.P.A. (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and D.H.A. (Docosahexaenoic Acid). The Antioxidant Astaxanthin The deep reddish orange color (called `Salmon Pink`) that occurs in real Salmon is a natural result of their traditional diet featuring krill (and/or fish that eat krill). This pigment, the carotenoid Astaxanthin is also a powerful antioxidant with many known health benefits: * Helps prevent bladder cancer. * Stimulates the immune system. * Protects the retina from oxidative damage. * Easily crosses the blood brain barrier. * Useful to treat Alzheimer�s disease, Parkinson�s disease and other nervous system disorders. The Pacific Salmon Family The five species of the Salmonidae family are highly unique and each deserves a careful look. Note that fish contain much higher body fat percentage during the early spawning process. * King Salmon (Chinook) [Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha] - The largest of all Salmon, the King Salmon is the most desirable species for several reasons: it has the highest percentage of body fat, the most Omega 3, and (many feel) the best flavor. Only a few fish such as Mackerel and Herring contain a higher percentage of fat than "Chinook Salmon". King Salmon is available in several pigment variations including red, white and marbled flesh. (5 out of 5 stars) 15-35% fat. * Red Salmon (Sockeye) [Oncorhynchus Nerka] - Red Salmon eat only Krill and Phytoplankton as opposed to fish, so they have the most Astaxanthin and obtain a noticeably deeper orange hue than other species. "Sockeye Salmon" are unique in that they require a lake for spawning. (4 out of 5 stars) 10%-22% fat. * Silver Salmon (Coho) [Oncorhynchus Kisutch] - Though having a lower fat content, the smaller Silver Salmon can taste close to Sockeye if from a reliable source but they normally do not contain the same amount of Omega 3 or Astaxanthin. "Coho Salmon" were introduced to the Great Lakes, first in 1873 and then successfully in the 1960's. (3 out of 5 stars) 5%-15% fat. * Pink Salmon (Humpback) [Oncorhynchus Gorbuscha] - The smallest and most abundant of Pacific Salmon, the Pink Salmon have a distinguished humpback. "Humpback Salmon" were more popular in the early 20th century until stocks declined drastically in the 1940`s and 1950`s. Bright silver when in the ocean and turning gray and yellow during spawning, "Humpies" are not as flavorful as premium kinds due to lower fat content. Pink Salmon are generally only found canned though at a fraction of the cost of premium species. (2 out of 5 stars) 3%-9% fat. * Chum Salmon (Dog) [Oncorhynchus Keta] - Chum Salmon is the type found at discount grocers in the frozen section. The outer skin of Chum Salmon is unusual and resembles tie-dye. "Dog Salmon" do not naturally obtain the same intensity of orange as the others. "Spring Chum" is said to taste great when obtained fresh. (1 out of 5 stars) 2%-5% fat. The primary Salmon naming convention is somewhat puzzling. While the last four species were named after their color: Red, Silver, Pink and Chum (which means varied color), the first one (King) doesn�t follow the pattern. It�s like enumerating them A, B, C, D and 5. Meanwhile, the stories behind the Native American names (Chinook, Sockeye and Coho) are anyone�s guess. Alaskan Salmon Habitat Salmon are born in fresh water, migrate to salt water, and later return to fresh water to spawn and the life cycle repeats (this type of fish is called Anadarous). Salmon spend their adult life in the ocean where they must put on enough body weight to make their return journey. Migrating Salmon do not eat along the way. All other things being equal, the longer Salmon have to travel, the higher amount of body fat and the tastier the fish. While some areas of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia are experiencing declining stocks of Salmon along with problems from fish farming, wild Salmon are still abundant in much of Alaska where laws protecting Salmon are stricter. It is still important however to find small fisheries that practice sustainable harvesting methods. There are several popular Salmon hangouts in Alaska: * Kodiak Island - Said to feature so many Salmon during mid-year that the bears get noticeably bigger from eating them, Kodiak island turns a special shade of emerald green in late spring hence the name "Emerald Island". * Copper River - The pristine Copper River in Alaska is 287 miles long and empties into Prince William Sound. Wild Salmon travel through rapids on their return trip so only those in top shape live to reproduce. The Copper River is the most popular source of gourmet Salmon. * Yukon River - The longest and northernmost river in the Salmon�s habitat is the Yukon River that stretches 2300 miles. Yukon Salmon must have enormous reserves of body fat to make the journey, containing up to twice the oil of Copper River Salmon (34% versus 17%). While the Copper River continues to be compromised by logging and roads, pollution in the Yukon is mainly due to the mining of metals (there�s less Copper in the Copper). Both rivers are still relatively clean compared to other U.S. rivers and are not listed as contaminated waterways by the Environmental Protection Agency. As with any water source some areas are cleaner than others, so it�s best to find a retailer that regularly tests their fish for heavy metals. Mercury is a neurotoxin, and although wild Salmon are known to be among the purest of all ocean fish, wild and crazy Salmon should be avoided. Threats to Wild Salmon There are several dangerous trends that threaten the Salmon itself, its habitat, the consumers who enjoy them and the communities based on them: 1) Genetically Modified Salmon - GMO Salmon are kept in fenced areas in the ocean and ultimately some will escape where they could multiply and overcrowd native fish out of existence, after which they would certainly die off themselves. Bred to grow faster, GMO Salmon eat everything in sight and (some even eat each other!), and this would eventually mean no Salmon at all. 2) Sea Lice - A naturally occurring pest, Sea Lice only become a problem in areas where fish are overcrowded into fenced areas. The lice swim through the fence into the ocean where they infect young, nearby wild Salmon. 3) Counterfeit Wild Salmon - Superstores often use deceptive marketing techniques, selling "Wild Salmon" that is artificially colored. Some is actually not wild at all. The tell-tale sign of farm-raised Salmon is that it does not stay pink after it is cooked (artificial colors fade under heat, unlike real Salmon pigment). If a restaurant doesn't tell you the Salmon is wild, its farm raised. 4) Globalism - Some fish caught in the Pacific Northwest are actually shipped to China for processing only to be later shipped back and sold in the US! So much for catch of the day. Some even want a new (NAFTA) superhighway to get the fish back here faster! Summary Chances are that next time you are offered Salmon you will know what questions to ask to learn exactly what kind of Salmon it is. There remains however the serious risk that you might now be called a Salmon Snob.
Copper River Salmon Fly in But the Legendary Catch Will Start at $40/lb

Copper River Salmon Fly in But the Legendary Catch Will Start at $40/lb

This year's Copper River salmon began arriving Friday in Seattle, in smaller quantities -- and more expensive -- than in the past because Alaska's weather was harsh as the season opened Thursday.

Russ Casteel, the seafood buyer for Haggen Food & Pharmacy and TOP Food & Drug stores, was in Cordova, Alaska, as the season began for the famously trade-named wild fish.

Alaska Airlines co-pilot Mark Awon gets a royal welcome Friday morning at Sea-Tac Airport with the first of this season's Copper River king salmon. Following Awon is Capt. Ken Williams. The flight carried 7,500 pounds of the fish, down from an original estimate of 36,000 pounds because of poor weather in Alaska. The flight was one of four Friday.
"We started the day with 50-knot winds and swells of between 12 and 15 feet," Casteel said in a statement. "Only 50 percent of the fleet was able to get out and fish, and half those boats returned by noon."

The next catch is scheduled for Monday, with fish arriving in Seattle on Tuesday morning. Officials strictly limit the catch to ensure the fish's sustainability.

Haggen and TOP Food will initially sell king salmon fillets for $40 a pound, with that price expected to fall to $20 a pound as more arrives. The initial price on whole sockeyes will be $30 a pound, falling to about $15 a pound.

Most grocery stores with seafood counters are expected to sell Copper River salmon.

For those fish, home is the eponymous 300-mile-long body of water that empties into Prince William Sound at Cordova. They are caught at sea and at the river's mouth as they begin their swim upstream to spawn. The length and strength of the river is said to make for well-muscled fish with large supplies of healthful oil.

Alaska Airlines said it delivered those first Copper River fish Friday morning -- some 7,500 pounds from four seafood processors, brought in on a Boeing 737-400 freighter. The airline said it would bring in 20,000 pounds by the day's end, from Cordova and Anchorage.

Last year, the carrier said, it flew more than 30 million pounds of Alaska seafood to the Lower 48 states and beyond, including up to 1 million pounds of Copper River salmon.

Last updated May 16, 2008
Copper River Salmon Fetching a Gold Price

Copper River Salmon Fetching a Gold Price

King fillets are topping out at nearly $37 a pound

(Editor's Note: This story has been altered. The original version of this story misstated the increase in price paid to fishermen for Copper River salmon this year over last.)

It'll take a king's ransom to liberate a piece of the most famous king salmon in the land.
Copper River king salmon
Zoom Paul Joseph Brown / P-I
Alaska Airlines cargo manager Matt Yerbic passes a Copper River king salmon to Tom Sunderland of Ocean Beauty Seafoods.

Consumers have always been willing to pay a premium for Copper River king salmon from Alaska. But with first-of-the-season prices for king fillets fetching as much as $36.99 per pound -- retail -- some sellers worry that customers may abstain from the fish known for its silky texture and rich flavor.

The 2006 Copper River salmon season, which opened Monday, may set the record for the highest prices in the fish's illustrious history.

Usually, retailers and restaurants celebrate the salmon with promotions, sending out notices before the arrival of the fish and even competing to see who can bring back the first king. This year, there was nary a promotional peep after projections for the season promised a low catch and increased demand, which would jack up the prices.

For the first day, fishermen received up to $7 per pound for whole king salmon and around $4 for sockeye. The price paid to fishermen in 2005 was $5.90 for kings and $3.90 for sockeyes.
Salmon prices

Wholesalers, in turn, passed on the higher cost to their clients, who have had to cough up between $17 to $20 per pound for whole king salmon. After retailers and restaurants butcher the fish into fillets and steaks, the cost to the consumer has reached $28 to $37 per pound for Copper River kings. In 2005, the average cost of the king fillets was around $25.

Logina Parente, director of seafood operations at MJ Meats and Seafood, said that in her 20 years in the business, she has never seen a year like this.

"It's frustrating," Parente said, "but the cost is up across the board."

She explained that air freight fees have gone up 15 to 20 cents per pound. Rising fuel costs have caused airlines to cut the number of their flights and to reduce the cargo space per flight available to ship fish from Alaska and across the country.

"But people still want the fish," Parente said. "They still appreciate a high-end wild salmon."

Factors that contributed to the low initial catch include icy waters and newly enacted restrictions that limit the number of openings in certain fishing areas. The demand has increased in part because the Oregon and California salmon fisheries have been shut down this season for conservation reasons.

There has been resistance among buyers, though.

Some Seattle businesses, including Mutual Fish, Uwajimaya and The Oceanaire Seafood Room, have chosen to wait a day or two in hopes prices will drop.

"I thought last year was expensive," said Harry Yoshimura, who owns Mutual Fish. "Copper has been expensive for the past five years, and the price keeps going up."

Yoshimura, who believes many of his customers will take a pass on buying Copper River salmon, added that prices probably won't drop much, if at all.

"They've marketed this fish to the point where there's a huge demand," he said. "It's all over the country and people gotta have it. Some have to have it at any cost."

Metropolitan Market at Admiral pre-sold most of the first delivery of salmon. By Tuesday afternoon, there were customers waiting in front of the seafood counter eager to pick up their pieces of fish -- at $29.99 per pound for kings and $21.99 per pound for sockeyes.

Diners have been calling Ray's Boathouse since early last week asking for the fish. While selling Copper River salmon doesn't yield the profits the restaurant typically expects from an entr�e, the fish will remain on the menu for as long as it's available.

"Copper River salmon sets the standard for the entire salmon season," said Charles Ramseyer, executive chef of Ray's Boathouse.

A dinner portion of Copper River king fillet costs $38 at Ray's Boathouse. Customers can order sockeye salmon in the upstairs cafe for $21.99.

Lane Hoss, of Anthony's Restaurants, offered this analogy: "There's a price people will pay for Leonetti cabernet sauvignon and there's a price people will pay for other Washington cabs."

Copper River salmon is a Leonetti.

At Anthony's, a dinner entr�e of Copper River king salmon runs $38.95, with salad or chowder. Sockeye is $34.95.

Whether the fish is worth the hype is up for debate. No one denies that it is a high-quality fish that tastes delicious.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Nation's capital is climbing the fish ladder

Nation's capital is climbing the fish ladder

RESTAURANTS: Moneyed D.C. diners now seek out wild Alaska salmon.

WASHINGTON -- When dining in Lower 48 restaurants, I used to consider it my civic duty as an Alaskan to inquire about the provenance of the salmon and to display a subtle wince if the server responded with words I knew to be synonyms of "farmed."

I did this when I first moved to Washington five years ago, but I soon dropped it.

This isn't Seattle. It's not the West Coast. Waiters here would get a panicked look. The question bewildered them. Sensing a trap but sill aiming to please, they'd glance at the corners of the ceiling and guess.

"It's ... uh, wild?"

Too embarrassing. I stopped asking.

Salmon, I noticed, was everywhere in this city, on every restaurant menu. My non-Alaskan friends bought plastic-wrapped fillets at the supermarket. But no one cared if it was farmed or wild or even knew of those categories. Farmed salmon? They'd giggle. They pictured it growing in the fields like corn in Iowa.

Sure, each May, a few restaurants catering to fat-walleted lobbyists trumpeted the arrival of Copper River kings. The foodies -- expert eaters who buy Kashmiri saffron and black truffles from Umbria -- knew all about the Copper River reds. But most Washingtonians I met were clueless about salmon, even though they ate it regularly.

All those years of Alaska salmon marketing campaigns, it seemed, hadn't penetrated this portion of the mid-Atlantic. Salmon was salmon.

And then, maybe a year ago, all that changed.

Was it the run of news stories about the health benefits of wild salmon? The unappetizing reports of fish farm infections? Maybe an Alaska salmon ad finally broke through the clutter.

I don't know, but when I go to local restaurants these days, diners at tables other than mine make the ugly face when told the salmon is "fresh Atlantic." I hear shoppers at the Safeway seafood case telling their companions that farmed salmon is icky. More and more menus declare that their salmon is wild and Alaskan.

Chefs at several Washington restaurants say customers are getting salmon smart, particularly about Copper River reds, the most heavily marketed variety.

"We've had people asking for it for the past two weeks," said Jeff Eng, executive chef at Clyde's of Georgetown, a saloon-style eatery that has been a fixture in that high-end neighborhood since 1963.

So, when is he going to start serving it?

"That depends on when the price comes down," he said.

At the Oceanaire Seafood Room, a few blocks from the White House, chef Rob Klink was waiting to get his hands on the Copper reds.

"It's the most anticipated salmon fishery of the year," Klink said.

The earliest fish, he said, seem to get eaten up by the West Coast. He usually doesn't see Copper River salmon until the second opener.

He pays a premium for them, and so do his customers. He sells a Copper River entree for $40 to $45, well above his average entree price of $28.

"Whatever we bring in, we'll sell out in a day," he said. "Everybody knows it's top-notch salmon. Each year demand goes up."

And at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.? Do President and Mrs. Bush plan to serve Copper River salmon this year? Any Alaska salmon at all?

The White House that abhors leaks is keeping mum on this.

"The White house chef is familiar with the salmon. However, we do not release any menus until the day the guests have their dinner," said Tarah Donoghue, a spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush.

Anchorage Daily News
Published: May 21, 2006
Better ratios, bigger salmon runs in store for '05

Better ratios, bigger salmon runs in store for '05

With nowhere to go but up, the 2005 Alaska salmon season should be a lucrative one, thanks to changes in the ratio of high- to low-value harvest and improved prices, says seafood industry analyst Chris McDowell.

An improved ratio of high- to low-value salmon harvests in recent years and a predicted large run of salmon in 2005 have those in the industry approaching this year's fishing season with more optimism.

In recent years, there has been a 70-30 split between high- and low-value harvests, with lower-value pink and chum salmon representing the bulk of the catch, McDowell said. In 2004, however, species composition was split 60-40, with 40 percent of the harvest tonnage represented by higher-value sockeye, king and silver salmon, he said.

Pre-season projections from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game call for a run of 180 million salmon of all species. That compares with a 20-year average of 156 million salmon, putting the 2005 season in the top 10 historically, McDowell said.

All top-10 harvests for the last 100 years have occurred within the last decade, said McDowell, who is also the project manager for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Salmon Market Information Service.

"Part of what we are seeing is a rebound of sockeye stocks, which account for two-thirds of the total salmon value," McDowell said. The 2004 statewide harvest of 44 million sockeye, worth approximately $250 million, ranks as the eighth largest sockeye harvest on record, he said.

The sockeye harvest bottomed out in 2002, with a value of $162 million, then rose to a value of $209 million in 2003, he said. "Frankly, we had nowhere to go but up after the 2002 season," McDowell said.

Fluctuation of the Alaska salmon runs has a marginal effect on total world supply, he said. While Alaska's contribution is significant, the state is not a major supplier of salmon, producing 10 percent to 12 percent of the total world supply.

"Looking at it from the big picture, we are already at record harvest levels," McDowell said. "We're not necessarily going to catch more salmon. We can't realistically expect to catch more, but the world supply is continuing to grow. So wild Alaska salmon is becoming more rare, not because of scarcity, but because of the volume of farmed fish."

Marketing efforts by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and others have helped to distinguish the state's product from farmed salmon, he said. "The domestic market and interest from Europe have improved substantially from even a year or two ago, as a result of differentiating wild salmon from farmed fish."

The industry is also seeing slow, but steady growth in salmon fillet production, the preferred domestic product, plus salmon burgers and salmon nuggets, he said. Processors are also freezing Alaska salmon here and reprocessing it overseas, primarily in China, he said.

In the canned salmon market, one of the state's two primary product forms, things are looking up as well. Canned pink salmon is still in oversupply, but there are signs of improvement, he said.

There has also been significant growth in U.S. markets for higher-value salmon. Prices paid to fishermen for this winter's king salmon averaged more than $7 a pound in the Southeast Alaska troll fishery, compared with $4.65 a pound for Copper River kings last year.

In all, processors sold 182 million pounds of headed and gutted frozen salmon in calendar year 2004, bringing in $223 million, he said. The aggregate price was about $1.22 a pound, compared with $1.01 a pound in 2002, and 99 cents a pound in 2003.

The biggest gain for 2004 was in fresh headed and gutted salmon of all species. "We sold $60 million in fresh headed and gutted fish in 2004, compared with values of $24 million in 2001, $20 million in 2002 and $33 million in 2003," he said. The average for the last three years was $26 million.

Processors sold 6.5 million pounds of frozen fillets of salmon for a total of $11.5 million in 2004, at an average price of $1.79 a pound. Fresh fillets, 897,000 pounds in all, were worth $1.8 million.

Salmon roe went for an average of $5.19 a pound in 2004, for a total of 18.7 million pounds that brought processors $96 million. That price was up from an average price of $4.47 a pound in 2003 on a harvest of 19.4 million pounds worth a total of $86.9 million, he said. Roe values peaked in 1999 and 2000. The price decline has now leveled off.

For pink and chum salmon, the overall strategy is to take this relatively low-value fish and convert it into an attractive product form, shooting for the demographic that values the quality of Alaska salmon and is willing to pay for it, McDowell said.

"For pinks, in particular, anything we can do with shifting product form from traditional canned pink to other products will reduce chronic oversupply in the canned market," he said.

By Margaret Bauman
Alaska Journal of Commerce
Halibut in season: Fresh fish is low in fat and delicious

Halibut in season: Fresh fish is low in fat and delicious

'Tis the season for fresh halibut. But don't let the price put you off: You can get three to four servings from a pound, which means that for the family, a home-cooked halibut dinner can cost less than a fast-food meal.

Too often overshadowed by pink-colored salmon, fresh halibut's succulent white meat is low in fat and has a sweet, mild flavor that lends itself to many ways of cooking.

Halibut is abundant in the waters of the North Pacific. It is a member of the flatfish family, with both eyes on the upper side of its body. The fish burrows beneath the sea floor to avoid detection by prey and predators.

"Halibut season starts now and runs to mid-November,
At the beginning of the season, fresh Pacific fillets run $14 to $16 per pound. During the season, the price comes down to $12 or $13 per pound. "It's the cost of shipping fresh salmon," Mr. Chipps says of the price difference.

Pacific halibut can weigh up to 500 to 700 pounds and grow to more than nine feet long. Most of the fish range between 50 and 100 pounds. Young halibut weigh between 2 and 10 pounds.

The icy waters surrounding Alaska's 34,000-mile coastline host an abundant and healthy seafood stock. In January, the International Pacific Halibut Commission voted to open the fishing season two weeks early. Alaskan halibut are caught with longlines, meaning that each fish is caught individually so that the fish are not bruised during harvesting. To maintain freshness and quality, the halibut are shipped from Anchorage via commercial jets to Eastern U.S. destinations within 24 hours of harvest. The annual catch of halibut is regulated by the commission.

Fish, including halibut, are low in fat and sodium, and are excellent sources of protein. Fatty fish have more omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Locally, fresh halibut is sold primarily as fillets, but can be cut into steaks, which still have bones and are great for grilling.

The fish is easy to cook on the grill or stovetop, or in the oven. It is often served with a variety of sauces.

Italian-style Halibut with Tomatoes and White Beans is broiled halibut served atop a ragout of tomatoes and great Northern beans. It is seasoned with garlic and basil for a delicious flavor. It cooks quickly.

Halibut also can be baked. In Baked Halibut with Avocado Cream Sauce, the fish is coated with flour and egg, browned, and baked. With Halibut en Papillote, the halibut nestles with artichoke hearts, peppers, and tomatoes in parchment paper packets and is baked.

Halibut steaks may be easier to grill than fillets on a conventional grill (oil the grates well). The excellent texture of halibut holds together nicely, making it possible to flip the pieces without breaking them. Steve Raichlen in Raichlen's Indoor! Grilling uses a contact grill for cooking halibut fillets; you simply close the lid and you don't have to use a spatula for turning the fish.

Halibut fillets should glisten with no signs of browning or gaping, and they should smell like seawater. They should have no strong fishy or ammonialike smell.

(But the truth is that most consumers never get close enough to the raw fish to get a whiff: If there's not a glass partition between the seafood case and the shopper, there's a plastic packaging. In rare cases, customers are able to smell the fish before buying.)

When storing seafood, keep it very cold. After buying, store the fish as soon as possible on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, which is the coolest area.

When cooking halibut, measure the thickness at its thickest point. Cook 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. It should flake easily with a fork when cooked thoroughly; and it should be white throughout, not translucent.

Recommended herbs are dill, chives, and tarragon. Other seasonings that pair well with halibut are paprika, grated ginger root, garlic, and lemon pepper.

Basting agents for halibut include orange juice, lemon and lime juices, white wine, and teriyaki. Because of the tenderness of halibut, it is not recommended to marinate more than 20 minutes.

Other additions might include slivered almonds, macadamia nuts, lemon wedges, chopped parsley or chives, and mango or papaya chutney.

As for the history of this fish, halibut gets its name from "haly-butte" in Middle English, which meant the fish was only to be eaten on holy days.

Laura Fleming, spokesman for Alaska Seafood, notes that the Pacific halibut is a different and larger species than Atlantic halibut, which is not found in as much quantity commercially.

Fresh or frozen, fillets or steaks, this spring try one of these Pacific halibut recipes.
Study Offers Solution to Global Fisheries Collapse

Study Offers Solution to Global Fisheries Collapse

A study published in Science shows that an innovative yet contentious fisheries management strategy called "catch shares" can reverse fisheries collapse. Where traditional "open access" fisheries have converted to catch shares, both fishermen and the oceans have benefited.
Catch shares are common in New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, and increasingly the US and Canada. They guarantee each shareholder a fixed portion of a fishery's total allowable catch, which is set each year by scientists.
Much like stock shares in a corporation, these shares can be bought and sold. Each share becomes more valuable when the fish population - and thus the total allowable catch - increases. With catch shares, every shareholder has a financial stake in the long-term health of the fishery.
The results of the study are striking: while nearly a third of open-access fisheries have collapsed, the number is only half that for fisheries managed under catch share systems. Furthermore, the authors show that catch shares reverse the overall downward trajectory for fisheries worldwide, and that this beneficial effect strengthens over time.
"Under open access, you have a free-for-all race-to-fish, which ultimately leads to collapse," says lead author Christopher Costello, an economist at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "But when you allocate shares of the catch, then there is an incentive to protect the stock-which reduces collapse. We saw this across the globe. It's human nature."
The results of this study are certain to have wide-ranging implications as more fisheries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere consider switching to catch shares systems.
It is particularly timely for the West Coast of the United States, where the groundfish fishery - which encompasses more than 80 species including sole, rockfish (snapper), hake, and sablefish (Alaskan black cod) - is likely to transition to catch shares.
This paper provides the first global evidence that catch shares lead to better biological outcomes, and contributes an important scientific basis to the discussions. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council, which manages the groundfish fishery on the West Coast, will make their final decision on the week of November 2, 2008.
This new study also offers hope that fisheries can resist the widespread global collapse projected two years ago by Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, Halifax and colleagues. In fact, the current work uses the same dataset that Worm et al. based their projection on - a global database of fisheries from the Sea Around Us Project that spans the years 1950-2003.
The authors of the present study - Christopher Costello and Steven Gaines of the University of California, Santa Barbara and John Lynham of the University of Hawaii - were motivated by that paper to investigate possible solutions. Their analysis of more than 11,000 fisheries suggests that we already have the tools to reverse the current global fisheries crisis.
"Previous papers, including my own, have relied on small samples from the world's fisheries. The great thing about this paper is they have made an attempt to find all the fisheries in the world that have used dedicated access and evaluate the consequences," says Ray Hilborn, a leading fisheries scientist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study. "The field has now moved beyond listing failures in fisheries. Ecology and economics do not need to collide; win-win solutions have been found."
While the current study focuses on Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), which are a type of catch share, Costello and his co-authors note that to maximize benefits, catch shares must be tailored to the ecological, economic, and social characteristics of a fishery.
If designed properly, catch share programs can reduce bycatch - the unintentional harvest of threatened or undesirable species - and protect the ecosystem in the process. By imposing individual limits on bycatch, as well as on desirable species, catch shares create incentives to develop environmentally beneficial new technologies, such as more selective, less damaging fishing gear.
"The difference is comparable to renting an apartment versus the house you own," says Costello. "If you own something, you take care of it-you protect your investment or else it loses value. But there's no incentive for stewardship when you don't own the rights to it."
The Alaskan halibut fishery is a prime example of success. In 1995, when the fishery converted to ITQs, the total season had dwindled from about four months down to just two or three days.
These dangerous sprints resulted in boats with their holds crammed full of frozen fish; by the time the overloaded processing facilities could accommodate them, quality had suffered. Today, the season lasts nearly eight months. Because boats now haul in fresh, undamaged fish in manageable quantities, the per-pound price has increased significantly.
"Halibut fishermen were barely squeaking by - but now the fishery is insanely profitable," says co-author Steve Gaines, Director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The authors emphasize that for all their strengths, catch shares are not a panacea. Strategies vary widely, and must be carefully designed and continually fine-tuned to meet the goals of the ecosystems, economies and societies they are meant to serve.
Controls such as consolidation caps, which prevent any one entity from owning too much of a given fishery, and community-owned quotas have worked in some cases to help maintain vibrant ports and fisheries. Some design features however, such as how shares are allocated between individuals and processors, can be contentious, as in the Alaskan king crab fishery and elsewhere.
"One of the big challenges in catch shares is how you allocate the shares," Gaines explains. "But this is not a scientific question; it's a value judgment on the part of local communities and their governments."
Overall, the current study scientifically affirms what some fishermen and fisheries managers have long suspected based on anecdotal evidence and firsthand observation.
"Up until now, it's been an article of faith. It's pleasing to see that the data really does show these trends," says Jeremy Prince, a fisheries scientist and former fisherman from Australia who is a leader in transitioning fisheries to catch shares.
"This study gives us a solution to work with in fighting the global fishery crisis," says Boris Worm, who was not involved in the research. "There are fisheries which are doing well because of rights-based management. It's the silver lining that we have been looking for. Now we need to implement these solutions more widely."
Catch shares are not a one-size-fits-all solution. However the current study demonstrates that ownership can be a powerful ally in the effort to reverse fisheries decline, especially when deployed with complementary management strategies. With proper design, careful monitoring, and real-time adaptation to changing environmental conditions, catch shares can help ensure that the world will enjoy plentiful seafood for years to come.

Copyright (c) 2008 Space Daily, Distributed by United Press International
Up to five percent of farmed Atlantic salmon in the world's top producer Norway suffer deformities perhaps linked to growing too fast or pollution, a scientist said on Tuesday.

Deformities � often a curved spine because young farmed fishes' flesh can grow too fast for their skeletons � also affect fish in other nations and other farmed species like rainbow trout or sea bream in pens from Norway to Chile.

"Our overall estimate for deformities in salmon is somewhere between 1-5 percent," said Grete Baeverfjord, senior research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Aquaculture Research.

In some fish farms off Norway rates of deformities can exceed 25 percent while in others it is almost zero, she said.

"We're talking of millions of fish in total," she told Reuters in a break from a meeting in the west Norwegian city of Bergen trying to chart spinal disorders in fish farms.

The daily Dagbladet published researchers' photographs on Tuesday of some deformities including salmon with badly curved spines, jaws that cannot close or a lack of gills.

Some of the deformities are only slight, Baeverfjord said.

Norway is cooperating with a European research project with nations including Britain, Denmark and Italy to find ways to control the deformities, Baeverfjord said.

Reasons for the deformities were unknown but could include an imbalance of minerals in feed, polluted water, cramped pens or the wrong temperatures for water.

In some tanks for young fish, water is kept warmer than in the sea to promote faster muscle growth than in the wild as part of a bid to shorten the time to slaughter. With abundant food, the warm water may contribute to a bent spine as the pink flesh grows faster than the bones.

Deformed fish can be sold for human consumption, for instance as fillets or in pate.

"We're taking the problem very seriously," said Petter Arnesen, vice-president of Norway's number two salmon producer Fjord Seafood. "If we were sure what caused this we would be able to do something about it."

May 10, 2005 � OSLO (Reuters) -
Avoid Brain Drain with Memory-Boosting Foods.

Avoid Brain Drain with Memory-Boosting Foods.

Every cell in your body needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to stay alive and work properly, including brain cells. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the blood stream, anything that impedes blood flow will starve those all-important brain cells. The plain truth is that a healthy heart makes for a healthy brain. So keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, exercise regularly, don�t smoke and get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Compelling research also indicates that certain foods and nutrients can help enhance your memory. Read the facts on fish, berries, leafy greens and coffee � and be sure you remember to incorporate them into your diet.
Fish (3 servings per week)
Research suggests that when it comes to food and memory, fish plays a starring role. Specifically fatty fish like salmon and sardines, thanks to the ample amounts of omega 3 fats they provide. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Neurology in November 2006 found people with the highest levels of omega 3 fats were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, compared to people with the lowest levels.
Another earlier study conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed more than 3,000 men and women for six years to see how diet affected memory. People who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower decline compared with those who did not eat fish, a difference that gave them the memory and thinking ability of a person three years younger.
Fatty fish is concentrated in the most potent form of omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA), so go out of your way to incorporate three to five ounces portions at least three times each week.
Best fish to eat (low in contaminants AND high in omega 3 fats): Wild salmon, sardines, lake trout, pacific oysters, and Atlantic mackerel. If that�s not feasible, you can buy fish oil supplements or at the very least incorporate plant based sources of omega 3 fats (significantly less potent than fish): ground flaxseeds, omega-3 fortified eggs and walnuts.
Berries (one cup a day)
Studies that focus on food and memory suggest that the more overall produce you eat, the better. But when it comes to fruit and your memory, berries rate number one! Berries have some of the highest antioxidant concentrations among fruit, and ALL berries are rich in healthy compounds called anthocyanins and flavanols� which may help protect against the breakdown of brain cells.
Plus these days, it seems you can�t say enough about the health benefits of blue-berries. What makes them so powerful? Their deep blue hue � caused by flavonoids � those natural compounds that protect the brain�s memory-carrying cells (neurons) from the negative effects of oxidation and inflammation. Blueberries are one of the best sources of flavonoids around, and encouraging animal studies suggest that diets rich in flavonoids may help reverse memory loss in humans. In fact, a new British study, published just last month, reveals eating plenty of blueberries can enhance spatial memory and learning.
Buy firm-fleshed berries from a farmer�s market, local supermarket, or health food store. For off season months, take advantage of frozen, unsweetened varieties. Berries taste great mixed into plain yogurt, as a topping for hot or cold cereal or right out of the bowl.
Leafy greens (one cup a day)
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens, are loaded with folate, also known as folic acid � a nutrient which seems to have a direct effect on memory. A study conducted at Tufts University in Boston followed about 320 men for three years. Those who had high blood levels of homocysteine showed memory decline, but if the men ate foods rich in folic acid (folic acid directly lowers homocysteine levels), their memories were protected.
An Australian study also found that eating plenty of foods rich in folic acid was associated with faster information processing and memory recall. After just five weeks of introducing adequate folic acid into their diets, women in the study showed overall improvements in memory.
Aim for one cup each day!

Coffee (adjust to your personal tolerance)
Good news for coffee lovers. About two years ago, researchers from the University Innsbruck in Austria found caffeinated coffee can temporarily sharpen your focus and memory. After giving volunteers the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee, they observed that their brain activity was increased in two locations�one being the part responsible for memory. Results were observed using MRI technology. Without caffeine, there was no increase in brain activity.
Then, earlier this year, another study published in a leading Neurology journal, found the effects of coffee may be longer lasting � specifically in women. This four-year long study involving about 7000 participants... all participants went through thorough baseline evaluations � cognitive function was tested, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other vascular issues. Participants were re-evaluated at the two-year mark, and again at the four year mark.
At the end of the four year period, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee per day (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) had 33 percent less decline in memory over time than women who drank one cup or less of coffee or tea per day. The results held up even after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect memory abilities, such as age, education, baseline cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, medications, and other chronic illnesses. This caffeine-memory association was not observed in men � the authors hypothesize that perhaps that�s because men and women metabolize caffeine differently.
So if memory problems are a major concern for you, and if you don�t have a medical condition that precludes caffeine, feel free to indulge in a cup or two in the morning to jump-start your brain.
Note: If you have elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, you should limit your caffeine fix to plain brewed coffee or tea. There is some evidence that unfiltered coffee (the kind used to make espresso, cappuccino, and latte) may raise cholesterol levels, especially in people who are already battling high cholesterol. To be safe, skip the fancy brews and stick with a regular cup of joe. Of course, be cautious and moderate with added sugar!
Fish Oils and Heart Rhythms

Fish Oils and Heart Rhythms

Fish oils in heart cells can block dangerous heart rhythms

Eating oily fish like salmon, tuna or bluefish at least twice a week can prevent sudden cardiac death because fatty acids in the fish block dangerous irregular heart rhythms, experts say in a review article in today�s issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Epidemiologists have known for years that eating fish was associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but only recently have researchers had laboratory evidence to explain this effect, says review author Alexander Leaf, M.D., Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Leaf and colleagues present a detailed explanation of how omega-3 (n-3) fish oils benefit the heart.
�Animal experiments show that fatty acids from n-3 fish oils are stored in the cell membranes of heart cells and can prevent sudden cardiac death or fatal arrhythmias,� Leaf says.
Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms. Leaf says that studies of individual heart cells demonstrated that the omega-3 essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) specifically block excessive sodium and calcium currents in the heart. Those excessive electrical discharges cause dangerous and erratic changes in heart rhythm.
The first clinical suggestion that n-3 PUFAs significantly benefited the heart came from a 1989 study in which 2,033 men with heart disease were given dietary advice on fat, fiber or fish. After two years the men who were told to eat fish at least twice a week had a 29 percent reduction in death. There was no benefit in either the fiber or fat groups.
Since about �50 percent to 60 percent of deaths in the setting of coronary heart disease are sudden cardiac death [deaths within one hour of symptoms of a heart attack] attributed to sustained ventricular arrhythmias� the authors write, the reduction in deaths reported in this early study is probably evidence of fewer fatal arrhythmias.
This initial study was followed by a series of observational studies and controlled clinical trials. All arrived at the same conclusion: A diet rich in fatty fish reduced fatal heart attacks. But Leaf says that this �protection� was still not completely understood.
In early animal experiments, researchers demonstrated that animals fed a diet in which 12 percent of the calories came from saturated fat died of sustained ventricular fibrillation, but animals that were also fed n-3 PUFAs did not develop these dangerous arrhythmias when their coronary arteries were tied off.
But then Leaf and other researchers still needed to find out if �there were any plausible biochemical or physiological effects of these n-3 fatty acids which could explain their antiarrhythmic action.� To do so, they cultured neonatal heart cells from rats and observed them under the microscope. The cells clump together and the clump beats spontaneously, rhythmically and simultaneously just like the whole heart.
Using a video camera, Leaf and his colleagues taped the action of the cells and the effect of different toxic agents on the cells. They discovered that adding n-3 PUFA prevented arrhythmias induced in the cells.
Leaf and his colleagues conclude that �n-3 fatty acids have been part of the human diet for some 2-4 million years during which our genes were adapting to our environment, including our diets. They are safe and have been listed on the GRAS list (�generally regarded as safe�) according to the FDA.�
Leaf says that fresh or frozen fish are the best choices but canned tuna can be used if it is packed in water. �Tuna packed in oil is not a good choice because the extra oil will extract the beneficial n-3 oil from the fish,� he says.
According to a recent American Heart Association scientific statement a �dietary approach to increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake is preferable. Still, for patients with coronary artery disease, the dose of omega-3 (about one gram per day) may be greater than what can readily be achieved through diet alone. These individuals, in consultation with their physician, could consider supplements for CHD risk reduction.�
The association recommends that individuals with certain cardiovascular conditions consult with their physician about fish oil supplements.
In an accompanying editorial, authors David S. Siscovick, M.D., Rozenn N. Lemaitre, Ph.D., and Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D. say the messages from Leaf and colleagues are clear.
�For clinicians, it is time to implement the current American Heart Association dietary guidelines . . . For policymakers, there is a need to consider a new indication for treatment with low-dose n-3 PUFA supplements � the prevention of sudden cardiac death in patients with a prior [heart attack]. For researchers, there is a need to continue both clinical studies and studies that explore the mechanism through which n-3 PUFAS influence the risk of sudden cardiac death,� they write.
The American Heart Association estimates that sudden cardiac death causes 250,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Co-authors are Jing X. Kang, M.D., Ph.D.; Yong-Fu Xiao, M.D., Ph.D.; and George E. Billman, Ph.D. The study was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
Omega-3 fatty acids: where to find them?
Although no single food alone can make a person healthy, eating more fish is one way that most of us can help improve our diets�and our health. Many of the studies about beneficial omega-3 fatty acids focus on fish as the primary source. Salmon, sardines, tuna and even shellfish are rich in omega-3 fatty acid content, but increasing your consumption of all types of fish and seafood is recommended.

Another intriguing area of research on omega-3 fatty acids pertains to their role in brain and visual function, as some research suggests they may have a role in preventing macular degeneration, a common form of blindness, and have beneficial effects in some depressive disorders.
Continuing research involves the role of omega-3 fatty acids and the immune system, and suggests a positive influence on rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, lupus, kidney disease and cancer.
It is recommended that you eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week in order to reap specific health benefits. Although all fish aren't high in omega-3s, they still can contribute important amounts of these fatty acids if they're eaten regularly. The following chart provides a general overview of fish and their omega-3 fat content.

Journal Report 05/27/2003 Source: "Nutritional Analysis of British Columbia Fresh / Frozen & Cooked Salmon�, (1988) by the Department of Food Science, University of British Columbia (UBC).

DALLAS, May 27 �
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