There are more fish in the sea (Sustainable Seafood/Sushi)

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  1. Jan 15, 2019 #1

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    At the request of other forum members I am starting this thread on learning about sustainable seafood/sushi options and how to implement them into your personal or professional lives.

    (From wikipedia)
    Sustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans, as well as the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent communities. It was first promoted through the sustainable seafood movement which began in the 1990s. This operation highlights overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods. Through a number of initiatives, the movement has increased awareness and raised concerns over the way our seafood is obtained.

    To give a little background on me I am sushi chef at one of the very few fully sustainable sushi bars http://mashikorestaurant.com/ in the world much less the USA. We went sustainable in 2009. It was difficult at first but it forced us to seek out a larger variety of seafood to introduce to the public. If you go to a typical high end sushi bar you will pretty often only see about the same 15 or so fish.

    Maguro (Yellowfin, Bigeye, Bluefin)
    Yellowfin - many of the stocks are overfished, mostly poor catching practices, slave fisheries in southeast Asia, difficult traceability.
    Bigeye - depending on fishing practices and catch location can be an ok choice. Pacific is best and pole caught.
    Bluefin - critically endangered species, ranched juveniles caught at sea and fattened up in pens. Tons of antibiotics and growth hormone.
    Toro (fatty bluefin tuna belly) see bluefin above
    Albacore
    Hamachi
    (yellowtail) Ranched juveniles caught at sea and fattened up in pens. Tons of antibiotics and growth hormone.
    Farmed Atlantic Salmon
    - mostly farmed in poor conditions with lots of environmental waste, tons of antibiotics and growth, artificially dyed. Invasive species risk when not farmed on east coast.
    Medai (red sea bream) farmed with lots of environmental waste
    Unagi (eel) - critically endangered species, juveniles caught at sea and fattened up in pens. Tons of antibiotics and growth hormone. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/american-eel-is-in-danger-of-extinction/
    Ebi (Prawns) - Mostly Farmed in southeast asia. Heavy use of antibiotics, slave labor, destruction of mangroves. https://oceana.org/blog/5-facts-will-make-you-think-twice-about-eating-imported-farm-raised-shrimp
    Amaebi (spot prawns)
    Hotate (Scallops) usually a good choice but can sometimes be treatment with plumping agents/preservatives
    Saba- (Norwegian Mackerel)
    Kohada (Gizzard Shad) - mostly farmed in poor conditions with lots of environmental waste
    Aji (horse mackerel, technically a jack though)-mostly farmed in poor conditions with lots of environmental waste
    Uni (sea uchin roe) - many times served out of season and treated with preservatives plus large carbon footprint to export
    Geoduck
    Hokkigai
    (surf clam) - power hoses used to destroy beach to harvest the clams
    Ikura (salmon roe)
    Tako (octopus) - bottom trawled off the unregulated African coast. Reefs and seafloor are decimated. Large carbon footprint
    Ika (squid)
    Ankimo (monkfish liver)

    We on the other hand will have a few that are consistent but are always changing seasonally or what ever interesting sustainable choice we can find. We don't put anything on the menu that we can't trace it's origin, fishing or practices. We don't accept the sales reps word completely and do our own independent research to verify as well. Our list is more like this. We may only have about 3/4 of this at one time due to seasonality and availability.

    Northwest Albacore
    Northwest Albacore Toro
    Hawaiian Albacore
    Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna)
    Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
    Alaskan Coho Salmon
    Alaskan White King Salmon
    House cured Ikura
    (varies from sockeye/coho/king roe what ever we can get)
    Farmed Rainbow Trout (Closed system farm in Idaho, they swim in certified drinking water)
    Broken Shell Geoduck (they would normally be discarded because they are not pretty but are perfectly good to eat)
    Horse clam (another local giant clam commonly viewed as a trash species but is one of the sweetest tasting clams)
    Alaskan Spot Prawns
    Alaskan Giant Pacific Octopus
    (bi-catch from spot prawn fishing)
    Alaskan Black Cod
    Alaskan Dungeness Crab
    Hawaiian Ono
    Hawaiian Mahimahi
    Pacific Ocean Whitefish
    (tilefish family)
    Sheepshead (wrasse family)
    Florida Blue Runner (Shima aji in Japan) Considered a trash/bait fish in the US.
    Nishin (local herring)
    Ocean Smelt
    Aji
    (horse mackerel) - closed system farm
    Iwashi (local sardine)
    Maine Ankimo (Monkfish Liver) only when in season, winter
    Local Oysters
    Bai Gai
    (white sea snails)
    Periwinkles (small sea snails)
    Ezo Awabi (abalone from Kona) Closed system farm in Kona
    Gooseneck Barnacles (Mexico)
    San Juan Islands Uni (sea urchin) delivered live direct from the diver.
    Ika (squid) New England
    Oregon Bay Shrimp
    Hokkaido Scallops
    Nihotate
    (whole hokkaido scallops)
    Maine Dayboat drypack scallops
    Wild Gulf Shrimp
    Wild Baja Yellowtail
    Namagi (South Carolina Catfish) this is our unagi substitute.



    Some resources:
    http://www.seachoice.org/info-centre/aquaculture/aquaculture-methods/
    https://thefishsite.com/articles/warnings-of-sodium-tripolyphosphate-in-fish
    https://www.seafoodwatch.org/
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1556437692/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

    Things you can do to help:

    Ask you fish monger, chef, seafood rep, or sushi chef;
    Where is this from?
    How was it caught?
    What farming practices were used?
    What kind of feed are they using?
    What's the pound to pound feed to fish yield ratio? (example: it takes 15-20lbs of mackerel feed to make 1lbs of tuna)
    Do they use dyes, hormones or antibiotics?
    Do they use any preservatives?
    Has this been carbon monoxide gassed? (lots of cheap tuna and hamachi are to preserve color)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/06/dining/tunas-red-glare-it-could-be-carbon-monoxide.html
    Eat smaller fish. Lower on the food chain the better. They have high reproduction rates and in my opinion way tastier than tuna.
    Eat more clams, oysters, mussels. These populations are healthy and farming has minimal impact on environment.
    Try new things. Don't be scared of snails, barnacles, abalone. They taste like clams and shrimp combined.


    This is just the beginning of this discussion. Sustainable seafood is a moving target and has to kept up with regularly. Stocks go down, some replenish, better farms are being created. If everyone is more aware and does something to help it can make a big impact. Feel free to ask any question or even email my boss at the restaurant. He is always happy to help. Here's an old video of him.
    http://www.deepseanews.com/2010/09/how-one-sushi-chef-transitioned-to-sustainability/
     
    nevin, Matus, gstriftos and 4 others like this.
  2. Jan 15, 2019 #2

    crockerculinary

    crockerculinary

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    Great info! I want to try the catfish as unagi substitute. Any tips?
     
  3. Jan 15, 2019 #3

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    It's marinaded in tsume and a little grapeseed oil then broiled. I can't give you a recipe as it is it and the name (namagi) are trademarked. My chef would kill me.
     
  4. Jan 15, 2019 #4
  5. Jan 15, 2019 #5

    Ochazuke

    Ochazuke

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    This is a good thread
     
  6. Jan 15, 2019 #6

    HRC_64

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    I think a discussion about 'real sushi' and seasonality is also maybe worth having here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  7. Jan 15, 2019 #7

    Ochazuke

    Ochazuke

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    I mean, even things that people see all the time in Japan are sometimes not considered “real sushi” depending on how much of a purist (read “snob”) that you want to be. Prime example is salmon.

    I’m firmly in the camp that food can change and evolve over time and geography.

    At the same time, I have long thought that we should call America’s crazy rolls a different name than sushi at all. But regardless, so long as the intent, background, knowledge, and technique is there I have no problem calling sushi made with local fish sushi.
     
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  8. Jan 15, 2019 #8

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    Oh that is coming for sure. I'm not a snob about things and like innovation but there is definitely a difference between being creative/innovative and just trying to be flashy.
     
  9. Jan 15, 2019 #9

    changy915

    changy915

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    Great info! I did not realize unagi is overfished since they are so abundant and affordable at your local Japanese stores.
     
  10. Jan 16, 2019 #10

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    Unagi are fresh water eel. It would be pretty hard to catch them at sea...Anago are the salt water eel.
    I know that there is not enough Japanese Unagi to satisfy demand and much of what one buys in Japan is farmed in Taiwan and China
     
  11. Jan 16, 2019 #11

    Keith Sinclair

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    Eat mostly fresh fish caught in Hawaiian waters. Salmon too switched to wild caught little more expensive. Like New Zealand and Japanese oysters.

    Thanks for taking time to bring attention to a important subject. Just like on land, ocean species extinction affects the whole aquatic environment.
     
  12. Jan 16, 2019 #12

    Interapid101

    Interapid101

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    Thanks for starting this thread!

    I noticed aji is in both categories. Is this because of farmed vs wild?
     
  13. Jan 16, 2019 #13

    dough

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    I wish more people knew about this and didn’t eat fish like robots. I can put sea bass on the menu and it will sell out but if I put catfish on the menu at an affordable price it will sit.
    Anyway that catfish prep is clever and I enjoy this topic.
     
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  14. Jan 16, 2019 #14

    Jon-cal

    Jon-cal

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    Interesting. I always order catfish when I see it on a menu. Mostly because I like it though, not for environmental reasons. Why do you suppose it’s not more popular?
     
  15. Jan 16, 2019 #15

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    They are actually the same. Eels live in brackish water and spawn in salt water. Also they are not truly farmed but ranched. They catch the juveniles and raise them in pens, feed them growth hormone and antibiotics. There is no true egg to adult farming of eel. They can't get them to breed in captivity.
     
  16. Jan 16, 2019 #16

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    Yes and no. Wild is better but also there are few farms doing a good job and using a closed system instead of open water pens.
     
  17. Jan 16, 2019 #17

    Brandon Wicks

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    Because it doesn't taste like chicken. But seriously I think it's because most people are used to bland white fish like halibut, cod, and sole. I'm not really sure what happened in this country when it comes to seafood or honestly meat selections too. It's so limiting.
    Seems like everyone is content with eating chicken, pork, beef, cod, shrimp, tuna, crab, lobster. Heck lamb and salmon are pushing it for some people. Imagine if it was common to see herring, mackerel, ono, mahimahi, black cod, quail, elk, deer, goat, pheasant, squab, duck, goose, etc. in the regular grocery stores.
     
  18. Jan 16, 2019 #18

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    I thought Unagi (anguilla japonica) is a different species from Anago (conger myriaster).
    They certainly look and taste completely different.

    I also thought that Anago is not nearly as much at risk as Unagi....
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  19. Jan 17, 2019 #19

    Keith Sinclair

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    Not a big fan of bland white fish. Onaga & Opakapaka are white bottom fish with flavor. Like it steamed Chinese style. Love wild Salmon can eat it grilled with little seasoning. Anybody in the industry knows how picky some people can be. Heck even one of my sisters does not like fishy tasting fish. Have a nephew that will not eat fresh tomato's.

    Like crab, lobster, Oysters, clams.

    Buy the U15 Tiger Shrimp in shell when on sale at grocery store. It is farmed in Indonesia. After reading link on this thread not so sure about it. Isn't most shrimp farmed now?

    Eat mostly Seafood these days, fresh fruits and vegetables.
     
  20. Jan 17, 2019 #20

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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    You are correct! I should have specified more. Anago is a much better choice but still not great.
     
  21. Jan 17, 2019 #21

    Brandon Wicks

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    Yes most shrimp is farmed. If you can find wild caught gulf shrimp they are great. Spot prawns are wild. I haven't come across any farmed ones.
     
  22. Jan 17, 2019 #22

    kdeleon

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    Very interesting. Most of the truly popular fishes for Japanese food are all in the no good list.
     
  23. Jan 17, 2019 #23

    Brandon Wicks

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    Yep.

    Part of the problem is that there on huge company that has almost a monopoly on the sushi bar fish supply. True World Seafood supplies nearly 80%+ of the sushi bars in the USA and even abroad. It's easy for a chef to just make one phone call and listen to their weekly specials and just place an order to one purveyor. Hence the reason the fish selections at your local sushi bar are the same in New York, LA, Vegas, Dallas, Vancouver, Chicago, Miami, etc... Everyone brags about how their fish comes from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. I'm way more impresses if your sushi bar is serving fish caught by a local fisherman or it has some "trash fish" that is really tasty. Sushi should be seasonal and as a regional as possible. That is the original intent.
     
  24. Jan 17, 2019 #24

    Keith Sinclair

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    When I was a teenager couple summers worked on a Scallop Trawler. Was good money for a high school kid. Last summer made enough money to come to Hawaii was 19. It was a bottom dredger. Those things tear up the seafloor. Bottom dredging still goes on.

    Early days in Hawaii worked charter boats. Caught a lot of Ahi(yellowfin tuna) rod & reel. Most were 100-200# Bottom fishing too at night. Yellowfin Tuna is caught by some commercial boats while still small pre juvenile size. Actually some used in canned Tuna. Wasted fish for future generations. Larger Yellowfin is sashimi & sushi grade. Large Tuna like Bluefin are endangered species.
     
  25. Jan 17, 2019 #25

    Bodine

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    Live near the gulf, so shrimp are easy for me.
    Also fresh caught gag grouper, red snapper, and my favorite,,,,Wahoo.
    All are excellent sashimi.
     
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  26. Jan 17, 2019 #26

    Keith Sinclair

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    Bodine you guys cook up any of those big South American rats that are destroying the wetlands in the gulf. They eat the grass vegetarian lean meat done right probably taste pretty good.
     
  27. Jan 18, 2019 #27

    Bodine

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    Nutria, no not me, have plenty of venison in the freezer.
     
  28. Jan 30, 2019 #28

    Receiver52

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    We’ve been eating Japanese food since 1984, long before it became popular in our part 9f the world. Unfortunately we live 1000 miles inland. Our selection is very limited. For example, finding Shima Aji is a rare treat for us. I envy you your choice, being so close to the ocean.

    Thank you for a great thread. I am aware of some of its contents but not all. Education such as this is invaluable.
     
  29. Jan 30, 2019 #29

    nevin

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    Nice thread! We should care about the environment more before it's gone.
     
  30. Oct 24, 2019 #30

    Brandon Wicks

    Brandon Wicks

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