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Friday, July 10, 2015

An Abundance of Fishes, King Salmon and a Trip to the Grand Canyon

Dear Fish Friends,

This week we see the law of supply and demand at work.  Three months ago we saw the first of the king (Chinook) salmon appear from the Columbia River and a month later the kings made their appearance in the Copper River.   At Kathleen's Catch,  we had to charge you $39.99/lb. to cover our cost of these expensive fish.  On this day in July, you will find wild, fresh Alaskan king salmon on special for $17.99.  What difference a few months makes!!   Some people will swear that the kings from the Columbia and Copper Rivers are worth every penny of their $39.99 price tag because they have a very high fat content.  But king salmon from anywhere is an amazing fish.  There's a reason it's called king!  Right now kings are coming from all around southeast Alaska, both troll caught and net caught.  They are very plentiful this year, hence a price tag lower than we've seen in maybe 7 years!  An abundance of fish means a lower price at the seafood counter.

Here one of my favorite salmon dishes:

1.  Whip up some cole slaw with a light dressing and some sesame oil.

2,  Make your favorite cheese grits.  Mine is from The Flying Biscuit:

3,  Grill salmon to desired doneness while basting with your favorite barbeque sauce.

4,  Dig out that bottle of hot chile oil you never know what to do with.  I buy the Hokan kind.

5.  Plate it this way:  grits in the center, cole slaw on top of the grits, barbeque salmon on the slaw and chile oil drizzled over the whole thing. 

Yep.  It's good.

 There's More Fish Around This Year
Speaking of abundance, salmon is not the only wild fish that there is plenty of this year.  In April of 2015 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their annual report on the condition of fish stocks in the United States.  In this report they list fish that are classified as "overfishing" which mean the catch limits are too high and those that are "overfished" meaning the population of fish is too low - whether from fishing or other causes.  This year six stocks were removed from the overfishing category and two from the overfished category.    Domestic fish listed as overfished or subject to overfishing has dropped to the lowest level since 1997 when these stocks began being tracked.

Eileen Sobek with the NOAA says this:

"Our agency wants to let consumers know that the United States' global leadership in responsible fisheries and sustainable seafood is paying off. We are moving forward more than ever with efforts to replicate and export stewardship practices internationally. As a result of the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and all of our partners, the number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished continues to decline and is at an all-time low.

What's the takeaway?  The United States leads the world in responsible fishing.  Our excellent management of the oceans' resources is something we should all feel good about.    I still believe strongly that the best protein source for the world's burgeoning population is aquaculture done right.  After all, the world's population is growing faster than the oceans can product fish.  We HAVE to have an alternative to wild fish.  But the United States is setting an example for the rest of the world on how to properly manage the resources so that they will be around for future generations to enjoy.

Here's the whole report if you are interested:

And Finally
 Kathleen's Catch #2 is coming along nicely and we are still looking toward a mid-August opening.  Before the second store opens, I am headed off for a vacation out west.  Next week I am hiking the Grand Canyon!   I can scratch one thing off my list of things I never thought I would do in my old age.  If all goes well, and I can climb back up out of that hole, I'll be back to work by Saturday the 
18th.  Cross your fingers.

I'm going to try to make a logical conclusion here and tie my salmon story to my upcoming vacation.  Salmon swim around in the ocean for years getting fat enough to reach their natal springs way up in the rivers.  The greater the elevation change in the river, the fatter they have to be to make it home.  I'm getting ready to experience some serious elevation changes at the Grand Canyon. I am going to  spend the next few days eating cake.  :)

Be grateful for the abundance in your life this week.