Category Archives: Fish and Fishery

Shrimp are a safety disaster waiting to happen

via AlterNet

Shrimp are a safety disaster waiting to happen

Most people do not realize the majority of shrimp sold in the U.S. are neither domestic nor wild-caught. They are imported from countries like Thailand, India and Indonesia where they are “farmed” in crowded, filthy pools with antibiotics, disinfectants and parasiticides that are banned in the United States. The shrimp themselves have their eyes removed before being raised in pools so dense and dirty that many die.

The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of such imported shrimp for human consumption, yet over 96 percent of shipments are not opened or even checked when they arrive on the dock in the United States. Instead, exporters’ identities are stored in the FDA Automated Commercial System (ACS) system and only if a country or company has had prior problems will it receive receive inspections. Even then, the so-called inspection may only be a look at documents or a visual inspection, not lab tests for dangerous substances. FDA inspectors admit that blocked exporters can “transship” their products from another country to fool inspectors. Is anyone surprised that banned drugs and mislabeled products including pet shrimp find their way to U.S. dinner tables?

Like so many food products that are bad for consumers, intensively farmed shrimp also harm the environment, workers and animals. A recent, award-winning Associated Press series exposes slave labor used in the commercial seafood industry in Indonesia and Thailand—and the actual incarceration of captive workers in Myanmar in cages. U.S. officials and human rights activists call on Americans to “stop buying fish and shrimp tied to supply chains in Thailand.” Intensive shrimp farming also harms sensitive mangrove areas.

Tamatem Ma’Amrine

Tamatem Ma’Amrine is a Moroccan dish of roasted tomatoes stuffed with albacore, capers, olives and preserved lemon..

Tamatem Ma'Amrine (click to enlarge)

Adapted from a recipe by Claudia Roden

Carve a lid out of the tomatoes and scoop out the insides as you would a jack-o’-lantern.  Don’t let the walls get too thin, or the tomatoes will split while roasting. Turn the tomatoes upside down and let the water drain.

Meanwhile, flake apart US Pacific troll or line-caught albacore and toss gently in extra virgin olive oil with bits of roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped capers and black olives, thinly slivered preserved lemon and chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Season tuna mixture with cracked coriander, fennel and white sesame seeds and stuff into the tomatoes.

Drizzle with a little more olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Roast in a 375 degree oven until slightly blackened, perhaps 30 minutes.

Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold; a crisp salad goes well in either case.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
© Monterey Bay Aquarium

Seafood Watch: Tuna, Albacore

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..

Learn more

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.


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.


Katey Parker
Partnership and Media Manager
Just Label It