Category Archives: Fish and Fishery

Asian slave labour producing shrimp for US supermarkets

A six-month Guardian multimedia investigation has, for the first time, tracked how some of the world’s big-supermakets are using suppliers relying on slave labour to put cheap shrimp on their shelves.

The investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco.

Slavery is back and here’s the proof..


 
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Wrong Mine, Wrong Place

Tens of millions of salmon are beginning to return to the streams, rivers and headwaters of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve in Alaska. They are in the final stage of completing a life cycle that began years earlier in the very same location and as long as the spawning grounds are intact and protected, these runs will continue to thrive forever.

 
But this vast, pristine habitat—home to one of the most important salmon fisheries in the world— is facing a catastrophic threat. Given massive discoveries of gold and copper deep below the surface of Bristol Bay’s headwaters, a foreign mining conglomerate called the Pebble Partnership plans to build North America’s largest open pit mine. Should toxic mining waste from the Pebble Mine find its way into the watershed, the effects would prove catastrophic to salmon and the entire ecosystem.

Learn more..

Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon

originally published Oct. 11, 2009

Roasted sweet corn with poblano peppers, onions, seared scallops and smoked bacon..

Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon
Roasted Corn Chowder with Scallops and Bacon

(informed by a recipe by Rick Bayless)

3 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
1/2 small white onion
1/2 large poblano chile
1 red Fresno chile
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh whole milk
1 cup fresh cream
6 oz dry sea scallops
4 oz smoked bacon, diced
1 teaspoon cultured butter
1/4 teaspoon smoked chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Roast the poblano, Fresno, onion, garlic and 1/2 of the corn in a 450 degree oven until the peppers are blackened.  Place the peppers in a paper bag or under an inverted bowl to steam a bit- the skins will peel right off.

Pulse the uncooked corn in a blender with the milk, cream and smoked chili powder, then transfer to a heavy pot set over medium-low heat.  Stirring frequently, allow to simmer until reduced by 1/4.

Chop the roasted peppers, onion and garlic and add to the pan.  Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, sauté diced bacon over medium-high heat until well browned.  Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat and add 1 teaspoon butter, paprika and cilantro.  Add the scallops and sear until golden brown on both sides.  Transfer to the soup, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if necessary and serve steaming hot.

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Say thank you to Senator Begich!

Just Label It

Senator Begich’s amendment to label genetically engineered fish has passed in the Senate.




Tell Senator Begich: Thank you!

Congratulations – your efforts paid off!

On Friday, an amendment offered by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) to require labeling of genetically engineered fish was passed by a voice vote in the Senate.

In his speech, Seantor Begich noted that over 60 countries currently require labeling of GE foods, including Russia, China and the European Union. Additionally, he pointed out that over 2,000 grocery stores across the U.S., including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, have committed to not sell genetically engineered seafood.

While the Senate’s budget plan is non-binding, the passage of the Begich amendment will further increase the pressure on the FDA to label genetically engineered foods.

We encourage you to send a thank you letter to Senator Begich for protecting our right to know by introducing this amendment, and working to drum up support in the Senate.

Tell Senator Begich: Thank you for supporting our right to know!

As always, thank you for taking action.

Sincerely,

Katey Parker
Partnership and Media Manager
Just Label It

Just a Spoonful of Cod Liver Oil

Many of us have heard of cod liver oil, perhaps through a story of childhood woes related by our grandparents or great-grandparents that went something like: “Every day my mother would make me take a spoonful of cod liver oil before I walked the five miles through the snow to school.” What this story doesn’t tell you is how lucky they were to have been given this historical super food. Yes, cod liver oil has been around for a long time.

Garum1You could even say it is the stuff of legends or, rather, the stuff legends were built on. The Roman soldiers were known to take fermented cod liver oil, Garum, on their marches across Europe. In the same vein, every Viking family had a barrel of cod livers fermenting by their front door and would take a spoonful of the oil upon leaving the house every day because they recognized its contribution to their vitality.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that the benefits of cod liver oil became better understood. Doctors in the 1920s recommended feeding children cod liver oil in order to prevent rickets (a crippling affliction caused by vitamin D deficiency, most notably endured by President Franklin D. Roosevelt). Studies have shown this nutrient-dense food (it is really more of a food, though we take it supplementarily) to contain high concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin A and D. DHA and EPA, two essential fatty acids particularly important for brain health and hormone production, respectively, are also found in cod liver oil. The importance and inherent practicality of consuming a food like this as a supplement is in the synergism of the components. Since vitamins A and D are fat-soluble, our bodies require fat to absorb them. The natural fatty acids in the cod liver oil act as the liaison for the absorption of A and D in your body, much as they did for the cod.

Although there has been some research indicating the possible toxicity of vitamin D and A that can occur from consuming large quantities, many cases are attributable to supplements created from synthesized A and D. This basically means the vitamins are not quite usable by the body (take D2, for example) and require your body to convert the supplement to a more usable form. Taking a supplement that requires your body to do more work seems counterproductive when there are nutrient-dense foods and supplements that can give you what you need without the extra bodily hassle. In addition, the unconverted portion of the synthetic supplement has nowhere to go but to build up in your body fat and create toxic concentrations that will lead to other problems.

As to the benefits of a daily dose of fermented cod liver oil, there are many. Research has shown that daily consumption of cod liver oil in northerly latitudes (particularly in the winter time when sun exposure is reduced) can improve vitamin D levels (thereby attenuating the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that plagues so many of us), as well as increase bone density. A study in the Journal of Neurology looking at people living in the Arctic, found that supplemental cod liver oil taken during childhood may be protective against developing Multiple Sclerosis later in life. In addition, breastfeeding mothers taking cod liver oil show significantly higher levels of DHA and EPA in their breast milk. These higher levels have been shown to greatly benefit the developing fetus and baby. In “a double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed the use of cod liver oil during pregnancy and lactation to increase the child’s IQ at the age of four years. In this study, the control received the same amount of fat-soluble vitamins as the cod liver oil group, so the effects are most likely due to the DHA. In Norway, use of cod liver oil during pregnancy was associated with a 70 percent reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.”

I am an avid believer in the benefits of fermented cod liver oil because I have been using it myself over the last few years. At the beginning, I was not consistent, and although I suspected some benefits, I couldn’t be precise about what they were. During the summer, when I am outside more often, I take less simply because I feel that I get enough sun exposure and do not want to over-do my vitamin D levels that are already being accommodated by the sun and my skin. When the days get shorter and I am more bundled up during the cooler months of the year, I increase my intake, and make sure I am consistent. This Fall and Winter were the first that I have been consistent with my daily dose, and it is also the first year that SAD has not knocked on my door.

As a nutritionist, I believe that eating real foods, prepared using time-tested traditional methods is the only way to eat for vital health and well-being. In my ideology, fermented cod liver oil is an important part of building vital health, particularly for people who do not live in tropic zones of the world, where sunlight exposure is high. My preferred brand is Green Pasture because of the high quality of the livers (only wild caught fish livers from fish caught in clean Arctic waters are used), the high quality processing of the oil (using traditional fermentation methods), and the efforts in sustainability the company employs (they only work with companies that are certified members of the Marine Stewardship Council)

Luckily, this product is available at Rebecca’s, and costs less than ordering it online from Green Pastures or Dr. Ron’s. But, no matter how you get it, I highly recommend you do and start your daily dose of what your great-grandmother always knew was best!

IMG_4952

Caitlin Howell, MS (Human Nutrition)
Assistant Grocery Manager
Rebecca’s Natural Food, Charlottesville VA

Say NO to GMO salmon!

Tell President Obama and the FDA you won’t eat GMO salmon!

Right now President Obama and bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration are preparing to unleash genetically engineered salmon on the market. After years of controversial regulatory review, this past week the Obama administration cleared a final hurdle for AquaBounty’s GMO salmon to be approved at any moment.On Friday, December 21st, 2012, FDA bureaucrats declared that AquaBounty’s GMO AquaAdvantage® salmon poses no “significant” risk to the environment. This recent FDA decision comes on top of the agency’s 2010 declaration that the GMO salmon were safe for humans to eat, despite no independent long-term studies. Once again, the FDA is putting corporate science over public health.

If approved, AquaBounty’s GMO salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to be sold for human consumption and could appear in restaurants and grocery stores as early 2013.

Right now there is an open 60-day public comment period at the FDA before any approval can move forward and we need your help today to get as many comments as possible.

Click here if you don’t want to eat GMO salmon! Tell President Obama, Congress and the FDA to put a halt on any approval of AquaBounty’s GMO salmon.

Already biotech cheerleaders are hailing the FDA’s recent announcement as a first of many new approvals to come, which means that more genetically engineered, transgenic animals could be approved in the near future.

In case you haven’t heard, the AquaBounty GMO salmon has been genetically engineered in laboratories to allegedly grow twice as fast as wild salmon, which the Massachusetts-based company hopes its patented mutant fish will replace as a new staple at sushi bars, seafood restaurants and supermarkets across America.

Straight from the pages of a science fiction novel, AquaBounty has inserted the genes of a Chinook salmon growth hormone and an “on-off” switch from the eelpout, into the eggs of Atlantic salmon, to make the GMO salmon grow faster than wild or farmed salmon.

Despite the company’s claims, critics remain skeptical that genetically engineered fish has any real benefits.

Once Again the FDA Ignores Serious Risks and Environmental Concerns

While AquaBounty claims its GMO salmon will only be raised in indoor, land-based facilities, environmentalists have real concerns if any accident were to take place. Scientific studies show that the release of just 60 GMO salmon could eradicate wild Atlantic salmon populations of 60,000 fish in less than 40 fish generations.

In an effort to overcome this, AquaBounty has built egg production facilities on Prince Edward Island in Canada and will then ship them to an indoor facility in Panama where they will be grown out. Once the GMO salmon are grown to maturity, they will be sold unlabeled in U.S. markets, if the Obama administration gets its way.

It is due to AquaBounty’s promise to only raise the GMO salmon in indoor, land-based pens that the Obama FDA has now given the mutant fish a thumbs up with its recently published Environmental Assessment (EA), claiming that the GMO salmon poses “no significant impact” on the environment.

In addition to land-based pens, AquaBounty claims it will only raise “sterile females”, but this is factually false since tests show that up to 5% of the GMO salmon are able to reproduce.

At the same time, leaked internal emails from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) reveal that the governments own scientists are dubious about the FDA’s own assessment.

In an email to a coworker, FWS geneticist Denise Hawkins wrote in 2010:

“I also agree … that using [genetically sterile] fish is not foolproof. Maybe [the FDA] should watch Jurassic Park.”

In addition, Hawkins criticized the FDA’s fantastical assessment of the ability of these GMO salmon to survive outside of the intended indoor pens, saying, “There is no data to support the claims of low survival in the event of escape, which… is a big concern.”

Click here to tell President Obama, Congress and the FDA to ban the approval of AquaBounty’s GMO salmon.

How will GMO salmon impact human health?

Because no independent, long-term scientific studies of AquaBounty’s patented salmon have been conducted, the human health impacts of GMO salmon are not currently known. Shockingly, the FDA is relying on scant scientific documents provided by AquaBounty itself. In fact, the FDA’s own assessment AquaBounty’s studies to determine whether GMO salmon are safe for human consumption states that the studies contain “technical flaws” and provide “insufficient data”.

For two of the studies submitted, AquaBounty used sample sizes so small that they have no scientific credibility, with only 12 fish tested for one study, while another study on possible allergic reactions in humans involved only 6 fish! Despite this scant evidence, the FDA is currently on the verge of approving the company’s GMO salmon.

Serious questions remain about eating fish engineered to grow faster and how genetically manipulated traits can impact human health, especially that of our most vulnerable populations such as pregnant mothers and children.

Act today to stand up for human health, food safety and the environment and the future of our planet.

Please share this alert with friends you know who may be concerned, we need all the comments we can get and every voice counts!

Thanks for participating in food democracy,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team

Sources:

1. “White House Reverses Itself, Lifts Political Block on FDA Approval of GMO Salmon”, Forbes, 12/21/2012

2. “Genetically Engineered Salmon: Environmental Documents, AquAdvantage Salmon Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact” Food and Drug Administration (FDA), FDA.gov

3. “GE Animals Regulated Under New Animal Drug Provisions”, FDA.gov website, FDA Releases Final Guidance on Genetically Engineered Animals, January 15, 2009.

4. “Aqua Bounty Biotech Salmon OK to Eat-FDA Staff,” Reuters, September 3, 2010.

5. “Modified Salmon is Safe, FDA Says”, The New York Times, September 3, 2010

6. “Mutant Salmon Coming to a Kitchen Table Near You”, Fast Company, July 12, 2010